You have problems, compared to what…?

Bad Monday

Are you having a bad day? I thought I was one day last week. I was going to be late for an appointment and I was really frustrated since being late is one of my pet peeves. My frustration level grew as I turned off the highway and my forward progress came to a screeching halt. In front of me was an accident and a long line of backed up cars. As I took the detour in front of me, I snapped the picture you see in the post above. An interesting thing happened as I drove past this accident. Somehow, seeing the plight of this truck driver, putting myself in his shoes, and thinking about the phone call he was going to have to make to his boss put my problem (frustrated by being 10 minutes late) into perspective.

One of the greatest questions I ask clients when they are frustrated and angry at a problem in life is, “OK, its bad, but compared to what?” As human beings, it is easy to get wrapped up in OUR life, OUR problems, OUR perspectives, and OUR beliefs. To jumpstart the process of getting a person out of their OWN way so they can work to a solution, just ask, “Compared to what?” When we shift our attention to the plight of others, the challenges of others, the life circumstances of others (that we can relate too) it helps to put things into a different perspective. When you can shift your “referential index,” how you are referring to something, with a different perspective, it lessens the emotional impact so you can think more clear and see the opportunities to think or do something different.

It is not to be used as a justification for NOT doing something different but a means of getting unstuckk so you can find a new solution and take action to achieve a different outcome. Next time you are stuck and think something in your life really stinks…just state the problem and then ask yourself, “Ok, this stinks but compared to what?” So you thought you were having a bad day, compared to what?

In the end, my ten minutes late was nothing compared to the delays this driver faced, his boss faced, and their clients and their customers may have faced. It’s good to keep life in perspective.

If you are feeling stuck and frustrated with your job, career, relationships or finances…CALL today to schedule your Introductory Strategy Session to start moving forward again. (919) 792-0085

To your continued success,

James

There is a Miracle Pill after all…

The next time you are sick and need to go to the doctor, try this miracle pill.  Although it is not yet approved by the FDA and not covered by insurance, it is still an amazing drug.

This miracle drug:

  • Releases endorphins in your body which are natural pain killers, they also boost your bodies’ natural immune system
  • Improves your blood circulation by naturally elevating your heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn, help to stimulate your heart and lungs
  • Improves oxygen flow into the bloodstream causing an natural increase in energy, mental clarity, and focus
  • And while you’re on it, it burns 78 times more calories than when you’re sitting at your normal resting heart rate

So, how much would you pay for an over the counter drug that provides all of that? Well, good news, it is FREE! Yes, FREE!

And NO, I’m not talking about exercise!

You know the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine?” Literally, it is! The magic pill is laughter.

If you want to break the ice at work, learn a new joke. If you want to bring the family together, watch America’s Funniest Home Videos together. If you need to impress that special someone, nothing makes a date better than sharing a good laugh. If you want to increase the quality of your life, especially in these times, lighten up and laugh more.

Just to illustrate my point, when was the last time you had a really hard belly laugh? Can you even remember? Finding, telling, and mastering the art of telling good, honest, clean jokes can be learned by anyone! You will naturally become the hit of the party, improve your relationships and attract people to you while having FUN doing it!

“By the way, did you see the church bulletin last week? It read, “Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa will be speaking tonight at Memorial Church. Come tonight and hear Berth Belch all the way from Africa.”

 ~OR~

“A student was asked if he knew what Roe vs. Wade was all about. He answered that he thought it was the decision George Washington had to make when he decided to cross the Delaware.”

~Jokes taken from “Healing through Humor,” by Charles Francis Hunter

Do you have some favorite jokes you’d like to share?  Post them below, we want to hear them!

Avoid This Networking Blunder: Don’t Ask This Question!

Have you ever been out networking, meeting and greeting, and towards the end of your conversation with someone, they ask you, “So, how can I help you?”  What’s worse, have you been asking that question to people that you meet?

That is a dangerous question to ask for a couple of reasons.

One, it might be a clue that you may have been making the conversation all about you. The general rule of thumb is that a good networking meeting will consist of discussing yourself thirty percent of the time and engaging the other person to talk seventy percent of the time. If a conversation has been going great and that question pops out, perhaps you have been talking more than listening.

Two, if that’s not the case and they have shared a good bit of information about themselves or their business, it indicates that you either don’t truly understand what problems they face, or you don’t have a clue as to how you can help them.  Either way, it’s not good.

In the first instance, not only can it totally breaks rapport, but it puts the person on the spot and places them in a situation where they’re supposed to figure if and how they fit in your business model, instead of you focusing on the problems they encounter, understanding their needs, and showing them how you might be able to help.

Alternatively, if you do understand the problems they face, but still ask them how you can help them, you run the risk of appearing like you don’t know how to tackle their issues which is not likely to foster trust and ruin your credibility as an expert in your field.

The reality is, if you have been asking questions, getting the other person to speak to you and been engaged, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of their problems and challenges. People more often than not, will tell you at least a couple of areas where they can improve something in their business.  From there, you can pretty easily determine whether or not you can help that person.

If it’s a good fit, fantastic, forge ahead, but if you see that you cannot or do not know how to solve their problems, add value by connecting them with someone who can.  After all, that’s what networking is all about!

Do you have some networking tips?  Share the wealth!  Comment below!

Be a better lover!

Want to be a better lover? Want your partner to love you in a way that really matters to you? 

Understand Your Partner’s  “Love Languages” to Create a Better Relationship

Gary Chapman has a great book called, “The 5 Love Languages” The premise of the book is that we all experience Love in five general ways or “languages”.

I have converted the 5 Love Languages into a simple acronym easy to remember: The 5 “T’s.” We can love people through:

    • Time: as in spending time with our loved one.  It could be just being in the presence of the other person or doing something fun together.
    • Touch: as in being physically affectionate; whether it be in a sexual way or not. It could be a kiss or a simple hand on someone’s back.
    • Tell:  as in telling your loved ones verbally how much they mean to you.  You might text, send a card, leave a voice message for instance.
    • Buy Things:  as in buying any type of gifts.  It’s important to note that it is the act of thinking about the person, finding the right gift, and trying to make your loved one happy that is the act of love that matters here, not the actual gift itself.
    • Do Things: as in doing something that will make your loved one’s life easier or more pleasant.  It could be making an extra cup of coffee, running to the store of your own accord because you notice something is needed, or going to an event that you might not have an interest in, but that matters to your loved one.

Although we may feel loved when we experience any one of those “languages”, most of us have a couple of preferred languages. Instinctively, we tend to love others in our language instead of theirs.  

Have you ever been baffled to find your loved one unmoved by your loving words or your affectionate touch because he or she is annoyed at the fact that you haven’t brought the trash in?  This miscommunication can happen in any type of relationship; with your kids, with your spouse, with your parents.

Imagine… you come back from vacation with a gift for son which you thought  was the perfect gift for him, he looks at you and gives you a polite smile but you can tell he’s unmoved and proceeds to ask you to sit and watch him play his latest video game.  You’re tired and anxious to unpack so you put it off for later and he runs off to play.  He never felt loved by you getting him the shirt, and you felt more guilty than loved by his wanting to spend time with you.

Sounds vaguely familiar?

While we all understand intellectually that each language is an expression of love, we truly feel loved when that love is expressed in our own dominant language.

So, how do you tell what your Lover’s Love Language is?

Simple. Ask the question:  “When have you known you were loved the most?”  Ask a couple of times and get a couple of different examples. The answers will tell you what speaks their Language the loudest.

I asked my son that question when he was six and he responded, “When we snuggle and cuddle on the couch watching movies.”  He is a Time and Touch” person. Just that simple. Knowing that, we switched from candy in his Easter basket, to coupons for extra reading time together, movies, or guy night.  My daughter on the other hand, can pass on the Touch, but feels genuinely touched when I take the time to think of her while I’m away and get her a trinket.  And she herself spends ours making “gifts” for the rest of the family. As for my wife, I can skip the flowers without worry, and drive the kids to school instead, or fill up her car up with gas. She’s clearly a “Do” person.

And as far as you being loved in your love language, simply tell your loved one what makes you feel most loved.  And when he or she loves you in that language, respond and reaffirm the love in theirs. By reciprocating, you will be communicating in a way that deepens your relationship.

On Valentine’s Day, find out each other’s love language!  Not only you will learn something, but it might just put the spark back in your love life!  Give it a try!

Liked This Article? Subscribe and Get my Thought of The Week Newsletter directly in your inbox! (You’ll also get a free copy of my “Emotional Mastery” training and my Free Special Report “5 Steps to Stop Procrastinating“)

Is Your Message Not Getting Through?


Effective communication is one of the most challenging issues for anyone working in a team such as a business or organization.  With so many different personality types working together, trying to tailor your communication strategy to each one can be daunting.

The Compliment Sandwich method is a classic and effective tool that we often forget to use.  It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to communicate anything to any personality style.  The conversation will feel genuine and flow smoothly provided that the positive feedback/compliments are genuine and related to your concern(s), and that you do not overuse that technique so that your words don’t seem contrived.

The idea is to start with some positive feedback (the bread), followed by the issue you need to address (the meat of your message), and finish with another compliment or positive feedback (the second piece of bread).  The part that is most overlooked however is the verbiage you use in between the compliments and the main message itself.  Stay away from words like “but”, “although”, or “however”.  The immediate response to those words is defensiveness.  They directly void any positive feedback —however sincere— you started with.

Let’s say that you are having an issue with a team member spending an increasing amount of time at work on personal matters.  You might approach the person this way: 

“John,  We love having you as a part of this team.  Your idea at yesterday’s sales meeting was right on point! AND in fact it’s clear that you have a real impact on our corporate culture in the office; a lot of the junior associates take their cues from you.

So it’s crucial that you limit the time you spend on personal matters whether it be on the phone or online to the times when you are officially on break.  

I know how committed you have been to this organization and I appreciate all your work especially for this last project.  It made a difference.”

Now, let’s add one more concept into the process. There are three different types of postures you can adopt when communicating with someone: authoritative, participative, or subordinate. An authoritative posture is always direct and to the point: “it’s crucial that you do xyz”.  Your main message —the meat of the sandwich— is ALWAYS authoritative so the corrective action is clear and concise. The positive feedbacks or compliments —the bread— are  ALWAYS participative: “We love you being part of the team”.  You are not posturing down or up, you are simply delivering a genuine compliment as one person to another.

We always have a choice on how we

To your continued success,
James