Coaching Message


couple communicatingThe Fourth chapter in my book discusses problem solving and communication skills.

They do go hand in hand.

You can’t solve a problem unless you understand WHY it is a problem to each person.

And you can’t understand someone else until you stop judging or debating what they are saying and just listen and understand their perspective.

This was my favorite part of relationship/marital counseling.

I would have my couples share their concerns within a specific format. Based on the Fighting For Your Marriage program.

One partner would start and talk in this structure:

  • I feel this (emotion)
  • when (this behavior happens)
  • because this is how it affects me.

The speaking partner could not use the word “YOU.”

I would then ask the other partner to listen without disruption.

When the speaking partner was done I would ask the listening partner what do you think they said.

I would then ask the speaking partner if that is what they said.

The listening partner could not repeat verbatim what the speaking partner said.  They had to use their own words.  They also could not debate what was said, just tell the speaking partner what they thought they heard.

Often the listener could not tell the speaking partner what they just said.

Often the listening partner heard something completely opposite of what was said.

Rarely did the listening partner actually hear what the speaking partner was trying to say. However they struggled with wanting to judge or debate what the speaker said.

I would then have them trade roles and do it again; Same results.

People often thought that what their listening partner said was correct.  However my role was to get the speaker to understand is that what you said or is that close enough.

Close enough is not Good enough.

People need to really understand how their behavior affects their partner.

Most of the time just coming to the understanding that leaving your clothes in a pile in front of the laundry basket causes one extra step in the laundry process, but more importantly it represents resentment  and that the other persons laziness is really disrespect.

Imagine that dirty laundry on the floor could really mean disrespect for your partner and not just nagging.

Learn to hear the meaning behind what people are saying with their words, not just their words.

Catch you later, Maureen


trafficThe Third fundamental step in Resilience is managing strong feelings and impulses.  In my book I refer to this as anger.

Anger is the immediate gratification issue.

It is actually more selfish, ‘I want what I want when I want it.’

I was watching 20/20 and they did a show on parking lot road rage; People who were physically fighting over parking spots on the road and in parking lots. They did an experiment in a shopping mall lot where at guy was saving this space for someone yet to come.

Some people drove off; many argued with him and drove into the slot anyways.  Some barely missed him and many had less than nice words for him.

They even showed an incident in which two men got into a fight.  The one the police was interviewing said it was self-defense.  Apparently the other guy died from his injuries.  Involuntary Manslaughter; All over a parking space.

When I lived in Chicago I use to call it the Chicago effect.  Big cities drivers seemed to want to park as close as possible to the front door.

I understood how sacred a parking space near your apartment was.  I even paid for my spot.  Coming from small town America I thought that was humorous, until it snowed. My spot held two cars front to back.  I would shovel the snow into the front spot to have space for my car.

My neighbors would borrow my snow shovel, shovel out their spot on the road and put a garbage can in the spot to keep it. First the snow took up space and limited parking and after all that work you wanted to OWN that real estate.

Several years ago the wife of our Senator got into a tiff with someone at a Home Depot parking lot in the Washington DC area over a parking space.  She insisted the parking was hers and someone else snuck into it.  It made the news back home.  The senator’s wife was in the wrong and was fined for her behavior.

This is what I learned about parking.  You might start looking closet to the door, but accept that you will be parking in the “back 40.”

I recommend two things:

1. Expect something to go wrong.  If it does go wrong; no surprises. If it doesn’t it’s a gift.

2. There really is power in counting to 10. It temporarily distracts you from the moment and it will take the edge of the impulsive response, verbal or physical.

Until next time, Maureen

Self Esteem and a Positive Mental Attitudes

wagon wheel with vine growing on itThe Second  Foundational Step of Resilience is
a positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities.

I came across an update on a gentleman named Nick Vijicic;  a motivational speaker from Australia who now primarily lives in the California.

If you have not heard of him he has no arms or legs.  He does have a small appendage that looks like a foot. He runs a non-profit organization called Life Without Limbs.  His tag line is ‘No Arms, No Legs, No Worry.’  He is married and recently had his first child.  

That reminded me of a gentleman I meet at an Experiential Education Conference in Washington State.

He was a paraplegic; paralyzed from the neck down.  He was in an electric wheel chair and had his personal caretaker with him.  This was the same way Christopher Reeves lived the last years of his life.

He tells his story of how he applied to the state of California’s Vocational Rehabilitation Department for training and services.  It was determined that he was too disabled to benefit from their services.

I was familiar with his writings and was thrilled to be able to meet him in person. When I meet him at this Conference he had just recently retired and was now doing speaking arrangements around the country. Continue reading “Self Esteem and a Positive Mental Attitudes”

Is Confidence really Responsibility?

man-with-two-thumbsI have been thinking about how Personal Development and Resilience are related.  When people explore the world of Self Improvement they look for quick and simple ways to change.

What they don’t seem to look at is what is wrong  or what they need to change?

In my most recent book “How to Master Resilience: 10 Foundational Steps”   Chapter One starts with Close relationships with Family and Friends.

This is a major foundation that supports Confidence.

And Confidence is a basic building block to any future success.

Without Confidence we will always questions our right to success and happiness.

We deserve to be happy and successful.  Yet without Confidence we buckle under the first word of criticism or a negative response.

Where did we hear our first words of criticism or negative response?  In our home environment!

I am not saying that parents’ are the downfall of confidence and success.

What I am saying is that if you have unresolved issues from your past that keep you anchored and unable to move forward learn how to dump them out.

It is not that hard.

Try this.

Write down 10 or 15 excuses you use to not succeed.  They most likely are ‘someone else’s fault.’ Surprise!

Actually that is the only real excuse you have.  You think someone else is keeping you from success and happiness.

Well at some level you are right.

The person keeping you from success or happiness is YOU.

Until you take 100% responsibility for ALL your behavior and the results of your behavior you cannot succeed or be happy.

In the Wizard of OZ, the Great Wizard told Dorothy she had the power all along to go home. He told her to click her heels and think positive, ‘there is no place like home.’

An open mind, a measureable and reasonable goal, ACTION, and she made it home.

Back to her family and new found confidence in herself.

This is just the beginning of a conversation.  Come on back for more.



Are You as Productive as you can be

We met a great couple this last week.

They are fulltime RVers like we are.

She is a traveling nurse and he is retired several times over.  He also has MS.

He doesn’t feel that he is productive.  Some days he feels very good and gets out and walks and takes pictures.

Some days he doesn’t feel so well so he sleeps in, get going late and feels as thought he wasted the day.

If you deal with or know someone who deals with MS you can understand that some days you are in charge and some days MS is in charge.  And it can be frustrating.

He is a former Marine so he will never be that productive again.

He was a very successful salesman for a large industrial manufacturer for 10 years. He quit to be an independent salesman.  So he choose not to be that productive again.

Running his own business gave him a lot of freedom.  However the MS made it difficult to do the job. Continue reading “Are You as Productive as you can be”