Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category


This morning I received one of those friendship emails, how the bond of friendship sustains us through life’s twists and turns, celebrations and challenges of life, and passed it on to those who have done exactly that. Then, an hour later, I got a call from a dear long-time friend, cancelling her birthday celebration tomorrow, having to deal with the crazymaking throes of her mother’s dementia living hours away. A disappointment because we don’t get to see one another often enough, but more importantly she needs a big dose of R & R because her stress level is tipping the scales in the danger zone between her mom’s care issues, son’s job search and work overload.

Times like this call for more than a Facebook update status. What undoubtedly would help in boosting sagging spirits is a”cappucino connection,” that utterly delicious blending of friends coming together to share a slice of time (and maybe something chocolate to take away some of the stress and heartache)—in a bottomless cup of comfort that lingers long after the last drop. Read the rest of this entry »

relationships, get alongSometimes people are cranky. Sometimes I am too, although as co-author of Get Along with Anyone, I do try to walk my talk and practice what I teach. Yet, I have my lessons in getting along, too. Indeed stressful days or situations can bring out the beast in all of us. Yet, creating positive and productive connections is critical for reducing stress and overall wellness and well-being.

We often don’t know when people are dealing with life issues that can impact positive connections with us. They’re frustrated, stressed out, and thorny behavior surfaces. Yet, others might exhibit more than occasional crankiness, what I term a Prickly personality.

When people get “prickly”, their thorny behavior can test us to the core. Our stamina. Our ability to maintain self-control. Our effectiveness in managing their difficult behavior. Our confusion about whether to confront an unpleasant interaction or just let it go. Our decision not to let their behavior control our own.

When you shift your focus, you enter interactions with a new perspective; this powerfully transforms difficult dynamics and makes a world of difference in how you respond and the experiences you create for yourself and others. It all depends on what you choose.

So I’m sharing “Shift Happens” as a reminder of changing some perspectives during difficult dynamics.

Shift Happens

Shift focus…

…To see those who are difficult to deal with, as those who may be dealing with many difficulties.

…To see those who do not smile, as those likely in need of one.

…To see those who are in your face, as those who really want to have your ear.

…To see those who have hurt you, as those who also hurt, often for reasons you cannot see.

…To see those whose ideas cause conflict, as those whose different perspectives may offer perfect solutions.

…To see those who upset you, as those who serve as the perfect teachers for opening your heart.

…To see those with a strong need to be right, as those who have a strong need to feel validated.

…To see those who hold grudges, as those who are choosing to invest their energy in hanging on rather than letting go; closed hearts cannot give or receive their intended gifts.

…To see the desire for connection, even when the possibility appears remote.

…To see how a hostile situation plagued with disconnection might be transformed into an opportunity for coming together.

…To see eye-to-eye, rather than an eye for an eye.

…When not seeing eye-to-eye, to seeing heart-to-heart.

…To see that you either choose to connect or choose something else; your actions either result in connection, or something else. Read the rest of this entry »

caregivers, AlzheimersChances are, you know someone or quite likely many now, who have been stricken with the debilitating and life-changing impact of dementia. It produces a wide range of stresses and strains upon their caregivers, often family members unprepared for the the anguish it produces.

The disease is escalating, claiming a new victim every 68 seconds. Until you experience a loved one whose brain no longer works the same affecting memory, personality, grooming, independence, and exhibiting behaviors that are so unlike your loved one, it’s hard to imagine the countless ways the quality of life diminishes for them and the toll of the stresses and strains upon the caregiver.

A few startling statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association 2012 Facts and Figures report:

  • One in eight Americans age 65+ has Alzheimer’s.
  • By age 85, nearly half will have the disease.
  • Today, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and over 15 million family members and friends provide their unpaid care.
  • By 2050, as many as 16 million will have the disease and the number of unpaid family caregivers will soar to 45 million.

I have many friends who are currently in the throes of caring for parents or spouses with dementia, and dealing with the drains and stresses from all of its challenges. I know it well, too.  Years ago, I was the caregiver for both my mother and husband whose brains were both ravaged by deterioration. It’s a constant battle of facing a continuing series of unexpected events that often require you to handle ultimately alone, and even with a support network, the extra burden become your responsibility.

Through caregiving, you’re provided daily lessons of patience, compassion, and acceptance, along with coping with the potential for sheer exhaustion. Most importantly, your own reservoir of self-care must be replenished or you’re at risk of developing burn-out or illness and that has a domino effect, and vital that you support your own well-being. Fortunately, the Alzheimer’s Assn. has launched a social networking community, ALZConnected, for anyone impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. It provides a safe place for people to connect with others in similar situations to communicate, pose questions and offer solutions to dementia-related challenges, and create public and private groups organized around a dedicated topic.

If you are facing this challenge, get support and join the conversation at alzconnected.org.

get along, relationshipsChristy Brinkley and her ex are really fueling a media frenzy in trying to make a case that the other is at fault. In my opinion, they’re both out of their heart space and into their egos, and that only fuels more angst and aggravation.

While having lunch yesterday with Arnold Sanow, fellow speaker and coach who coauthored with me, Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere we talked about getting to the heart of needs in all of life’s connections.

Wouldn’t you agree that life is about quality connections? Our success, happiness, and well-being are largely the by-products of our ability to get along well with others and cultivate positive relationships. By revving up the connecting spirit, we attract cherished friendships, valuable relationships, memorable moments, and an abundance of opportunities throughout our circles of influence. At the same time, we reduce the numbers of misunderstandings and conflicts that cost us dearly whether in the form of frustration, confusion, stress, lost revenue, heartache, headaches, or other draining experiences.

Anytime two or more are gathered, there’s an opportunity for all sorts of communication challenges to occur.  However, with the intent to create harmony in our connections, along with arming ourselves with proven strategies to deploy from a vital “get along”kit to either prevent or repair a communication chasm we’re rewarded with relationships that work and connect.

What people do want in their relationships, both personal and professional, is getting to the HEART of needs: to feel heard/honored, encouraged, appreciated, respected, trusted/treasured. If just one of these is missing in a connection, either one or both parties are likely to experience the potential for a  reaction and disconnection. This seems to universally resonate with people because it is what many participants list as one of the most memorable points of my presentations. Read the rest of this entry »

When Silence Isn’t Golden

Posted on June 20, 2011 in [Get Along, Relationships]

When conflict arises, are you speaking your truth?

Life presents us with an ongoing series of situations that can strain relationships. Conflict is a natural part of life, with the potential to arise when you face resistance, pressure, change, or merely interacting with others. It brings up uncomfortable feelings which can threaten well-being. Whenever friction arises from unmet or competing needs, wants, and values, a gap occurs, creating a “connection chasm.”

Our judgments, assumptions, frustrations, annoyances, misunderstandings, expectations, suspicions, opposing perspectives, and more can all spark conflict, an inevitable part of life’s interactions.  When that connection chasm forms, anger, whether mild or wild, can result. Yet anger doesn’t have to eat you up, pollute the atmosphere, or ruin your relationships. In fact, it’s often because they’re not dealt with, that the gap grows wider and you become distressed, drained, and disconnected by them.

When some people are peeved, it’s unmistakable; they let you know their feelings in no uncertain terms, and they “tell it like it is.” At the other end of the spectrum are those who repress, swallow, and stuff their feelings because of the discomfort they produce. Holding back powerful feelings breeds resentment and sabotages authentic relationships, which must be based on emotional integrity.

If you stuff your feelings about something that’s upsetting, you know your reasons for remaining silent–believing some matters just aren’t worth ruining a relationship, making a scene, or rocking the boat (although that boat is already riding over troubled water!) Or you’re uncomfortable with conflict and want to “keep the peace” at any price (except your own), or knowing that by admitting your unhappiness with a person or situation might set the stage for major change and you’re not ready for that, at least not now.  So you bite your lips until they’re raw and stuff it down . . . again.

But the drawbacks of suppressing your anger can add up. Over time, irritations or issues fester, and the pent-up energy from stuffed feelings can make you resentful and bitter. Not speaking your truth in alignment with your needs and values is destructive to emotional integrity and healthy relationships.  And keeping silent on issues that concern you is particularly harmful to long-term relationships. It takes an enormous amount of emotional and physical energy to keep powerful feelings stuffed inside where they silently brew. Read the rest of this entry »

In rummaging throlove and happiness, relationships, goalsugh my files tonight I came upon a “heartwork” assignment given to my daughter, Stacy, when she was 17.  Admittedly, I was a most intentional parent with a desire for her to make choices for creating a happy, purposeful life. Now eight years later, and with her wedding less than three weeks away, she definitely took it all to heart, and her life has become a reflection of living in alignment with her values and very conscious choices.

Stacy probably didn’t need any nudging, and undoubtedly with me being an author, speaker and coach on living with guts, grace & gusto, those messages swirled around our home all the time. Self-reflection and intentional living was definitely in her gene pool.  However, I was likely the one who needed the assurance that she would be launched from the nest, properly outfitted to soar with all the tools and tactics to carve out a destiny in tune with her heart. Read the rest of this entry »

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