Don’t Smash My Fruit!

Don’t Smash My Fruit!

My little one and I were at the grocery store the other day and had the most wonderful and frustrating experience. The gentleman in the produce section was courteous, helpful, and went out of his way to help us with our shopping. He gave my daughter a free banana and gave us a quick National Geographic lesson on how monkeys peel bananas upside down. (Yes, it was cool and really works!)

The young lady bagging our groceries provided us with the exact opposite experience. She was deep into a conversation with the cashier and as she reached out to place the bag of fruit into the cart she missed, and dropped it straight onto the floor! She picked it up and the next bag into the cart contained maple syrup, butter, and salsa. It landed right on top of my already bruised fruit! In my head I was screaming, “Don’t smash my fruit!”

I have to admit that “smashing my fruit” is a pet peeve of mine and this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. So, keeping my emotions in check I stated, “Excuse me, next time could you please not put the heavy stuff on top of my fruit?” The bagger ended her conversation, turned a quarter turn away from me, folded her arms, stared at the floor and promptly ignored me. So, I stated again, “Excuse me ma’am, next time please don’t set the heavy stuff on the fruit, that bruises it.” The lady stayed turned away with no eye contact and stone cold silence. I was shocked at her ignoring me.

By the time I reached the car I was very emotionally charged. I was frustrated at the way I was treated as a customer and mad at myself for all of the times in the past I didn’t say anything when my fruit was smashed. As I slammed the trunk closed, all I could think was, “THEY SMASHED MY FRUIT!” At this point, I was feeling a healthy amount of internal conflict between the need to gain other’s acceptance and approval or the voice that said, “stick up for what you believe in, that was horrible customer service!”

It was a perfect moment for some deep change. In any heightened emotional moment if you find a way to resolve the conflict inside, new beliefs will be formed at a very deep level.

In that moment, I made a huge decision to interrupt my old pattern of behavior. I pushed away all of the old thoughts and beliefs that were running around in my head and marched directly to the customer service desk.

I approached the manager and proceeded to tell her what was on my mind, “I just wanted to let you know about my shopping experience today. I had the most wonderful experience with the gentleman in the produce department. He went above and beyond in his customer service. My checkout experience was the direct opposite. The lady bagging the groceries dropped my fruit on the floor and then smashed them again when she put the other heavy bags on top. When I asked her as politely as I could to please not put the heavy stuff on the fruit she completely ignored me, twice. I just wanted to give you some feedback on my shopping experience today.” The manager thanked me for my feedback and said that she would make a note of it.

My voice and body were shaking with emotion as I left the store. In that emotionally intense moment I was able to anchor in some new powerful beliefs.

First and foremost, act in integrity with yourself. If I would have said something the first time my fruit was smashed I wouldn’t have been in such an intense place.

Give feedback so that others can take responsibility for their actions. Love the person enough to give feedback in a non-threatening way by addressing the behavior, NOT THE PERSON. As long as it is done without anger or malicious intent, it is for the other person to take or leave. I do not know what came from the experience for her on her end but she was the one to take responsibility for her actions from there.

Next time someone smashes your fruit, I wish you continued success in acting with integrity and giving constructive feedback to others.

If you need some support because too many people are smashing your fruit, interrupt your pattern! Call TODAY for your evolution towards greater success. Commit to 3 or more coaching sessions in the month of October and/or order a Sure Hire Assessment and receive 10% off!

Developing a plan!

Stop Thinking!

Many times in life we think about something that we would love to achieve or accomplish and then immediately talk ourselves out of it because the first thing that comes to mind is, “…but I don’t know how I will ever be able to do it.”

Most people take a great amount of certainty and security from “developing a plan” to achieve their goals. I am sure that you have heard the saying, “If you are failing to plan then you are planning to fail.” Waiting to take action until you have developed a plan sets up a perfect behavioral pattern for procrastination.

Many of the most fulfilling and rewarding goals I have achieved in life came from taking a bold, immediate action before I had a plan in place. Let me give you some examples:

• In 2007, I wanted to take a family trip to the Bahamas to visit friends, swim with dolphins and dive with sharks. Instead of waiting until I had the trip planned financially and logistically, I took the money I had saved and purchased the plane tickets. I had no clue how I was going to manage the time off work, get the family scuba certified, or make the rest of the money that would be needed for lodging. I let those parts of the plan develop after I made that first commitment. It was some great motivation to develop the plan and get it moving. We had a once-in-a-lifetime trip full of amazing memories.

• In June 2007, I had a goal to move to North Carolina. With the Phoenix housing market going downhill fast, I had to drop my tentative plan to sell my house and immediately put it up for sale. My final plan ended up including a double move with a 3 month stay in Colorado for a summer. One year later we closed on our new home in NC. If I hadn’t taken that first leap of faith, I might still be in Phoenix.

• In the back of my mind I have had a desire to run a 100 mile ultra-marathon this year since I just turned 40. You could call it the answer to my mid-life crisis. Instead of mapping out the six month training plan, core strength program, and eating regiment, I found a race that fit my needs, applied, and was accepted as one of the 250 runners of the race. Now, I have huge incentive and motivation to get my plan in place and have started running again. Wish me luck!

After you set your goals in life, sometimes it is best to sail to the new coast, burn your ship and then develop the rest of the plan on the fly. I understand this will cause a great amount of uncertainty, doubt, and fear. However, those emotions can be converted into actions and planning that will lead you to the desired end result.

If you are stuck in any of your goals, I urge you to find a way to put down the need to plan and instead take an immediate action that commits you to your goal. It is the immediate action that provides the motivation, activities, and opportunities that help you to develop the plan.

Your mind will be flooded with questions like:
• How am I going to pay for that?
• How can I make this work?
• What am I going to see and do there?
• How will I spend my time?

“Take action towards your plan NOW and you will naturally discover what needs to be planned for in the future.”

If you need some support developing a plan and taking action TODAY! Call TODAY for your evolution towards greater success. Commit to 3 or more coaching sessions in the month of October and receive 10% off!

Pull out the Fix-It Hammer Second, not First!

How many times has something been broken, and when our first solution for fixing the problem doesn’t work, we result to brute force? This rarely works, and usually produces results that are the exact opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. But, in that moment, losing ourselves to the frustration feels great! I personally am always tempted to reach for my hammer when dealing with problems that arise with my computer! You’re probably found yourself in a similar situation on more than one occasion.

However, when it comes to handling issues in our relationships this communication model just does not work! You’ve heard it before – men tend to jump straight to problem solving mode. When something is broken we jump right in and want to fix the problem. Women, however, want and need to be understood first. No wonder conflicts in communication occur given the different needs of men and women.

Emotional states are not rational. They are not supposed to make sense. Every emotional state that a person has is “perfect.” It reminds me of the Tom Cruise movie, “The Last Samurai.” At one point Tom Cruise’s character is standing in a garden with his captor and they are discussing philosophy. His captor says, “Men spend their whole life trying to find the perfect cherry blossom.” At the end of the movie Tom Cruise has befriended his captor and in the last moments before his captor dies, they flash to pictures of a cherry tree and its blossoms, and his captor states, “They are all perfect.”

Validating a person’s emotions builds understanding; it is not what is said but what is felt that is the building block of communication. Regardless of who you’re communicating with (be it man or woman), your communication will be enhanced by remembering that “Validation of the other person’s emotional states always precedes resolution and problem solving.”

In almost any communication where there is disagreement, it is because one person is searching for solution and another for validation. Or alternatively, the argument arises because neither person feels they are being validated by the other. Validation from both parties always needs to come before the solution if you want to have truly fulfilling relationships.

Let’s look at an example: For two weeks Tom comes home directly from work and is on time for dinner. After two weeks of being on time, during the third week he is late one night. He comes in the front door, to be greeted by his wife Jen, who says something like, “Why are you always late and never home on time? Why can’t I trust you to do what you say you are going to do?”

Some people in Tom’s position might jump straight to “solution mode” and respond without validation – “What do you mean, I have been on time for the last two weeks and I’m late just this one time and I get all of this flack! What do you mean you can’t trust me? Next time I will call before I leave work so you know when I will be home. How is that? OK?” I think we can all agree that’s not likely to calm Jen’s state of mind!

However, if Tom responds by putting himself in Jen’s shoes, remembering that her feelings are driving the situation, and responds by validating them, he will get a better response. He might say: “I know you’ve had a long and crazy day today. The last thing you needed was my coming in late. I know you have a ton on your plate. I’m sorry I didn’t get home earlier.”

Then, and only then, can Tom give into his need to find a solution – Jen is now feeling that he understands her frustration, and is now open to hearing any of Tom’s solutions:

  • “I promise next time I will call when I am going to be late.”
  • “Let’s get a babysitter on Friday and have a night out just the two of us.”
  • “Can I take the kids for a few hours on Saturday so you can take some time out for yourself for a change?”
  • “Let’s just order take-out tomorrow and take a night off from cooking?”

What would that do to enhance the communication between Tom and Jen?

Keep in mind, you do not need to agree with the other person’s beliefs/emotions, tell them they are right or wrong, or violate your own personal beliefs in order to validate someone else’s feelings and perspective. Validation can occur even if you don’t accept their way of thinking or believe it makes sense. Tom may believe that Jen is overreacting, but that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate and acknowledge what has contributed to her emotional state. You can still validate each other’s position, agree to disagree on a subject, and still keep the love and respect between each other.

Next time, reach for validation first, and search for a solution second. You will be astounded at the positive shift that will occur in your relationships.
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Focus On Your Relationship & Marriage: The Greatest Aphrodisiac

You are probably wondering, “Is it an oyster that he is talking about this week? Is it an ointment? Is it something sexy from that shop down the street?” Wrong answers, try again.

One morning last week I found myself in a deep conversation with my wife and it was going down a direction that I was a little scared to go. We were not arguing, because we never argue in our relationship, we just have “opportunities for discussion.” (or at least, that’s what I choose to call them!)

We were having an opportunity to discuss something that brings all couples closer together, our finances. There is an old psychological test that was performed where they put a man in a room with a crying baby and his first reaction was to leave the room but for a woman their first reaction is to soothe the child. Well, my first reaction when the opportunity for discussion on finances came up was to not only leave the room, but run like away like Roger Bannister.

But, instead of just listening to my wife, (some guys only pretend to listen), I found myself engaging in the discussion and really disclosing some personal fears, ideas, and thoughts on the subject that I had never shared with her before. As for that matter, I had never even really stopped long enough myself to verbalize them to myself.

As we worked our way through the discussion and arrived at a solution was a deeper level of trust, respect, and commitment to one another. We both had a deeper understanding of what the other really thought, felt and believed. We accomplished this level of deep connection by providing the one another the chance to be safe while opening up and sharing.

I have always loved my wife dearly and it seems there is a pattern that I am most attracted to her after our opportunities for discussion. And reflecting on it now, it does not really seem to matter whether it was a topic that we agree on or not. Whether it is something that makes up both laugh, smile and enjoy, or something that brings frustration, challenge and disagreement, it doesn’t really matter.

It seems to me that the greatest aphrodisiac is communication. Yes, simply stated, open, safe, talking and listening. Truthful talking and listening with respect for your lovers thoughts, ideas, and deepest feelings. When was the last time you your and your lover talked in a deep intimate moment? When was the last time you really talked and listened in an intimate setting?

I encourage you to do so this week. See what happens! You may find yourself more attracted to your mate than ever. Don’t just listen…engage your partner in an intimate discussion about anything. I will leave the rest of the details to you.