Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I admire women who return to school in midlife. Mothers, wives and business women who volunteer and care for their elderly parents, their days are already filled to capacity, their lives overflowing with responsibilities. Yet they seek out the best colleges with the most stringent requirements and toughest courses knowing that that is what it takes to succeed. They willingly forgo the luxuries of life knowing the end result will surely benefit them.
Young athletes desiring to become Olympic gold medalists participate in long, grueling hours of training - sore muscles, torn ligaments, sprains and fractures all a part of the process. Their lives revolve around one goal and one goal only: to be the best athlete in their field.

Small business owners work 80 hour work weeks for years yielding little financial reward. They make tremendous sacrifices anticipating the day when their business will turn over a substantial profit.

In each of these examples, people are willing to endure tremendous sacrifice, suffering, challenges, and deprivation in order to reap the ultimate rewards.

Those wanting to be the best are willing to go above and beyond, to give more than others, to accept any challenge. Determined to reach their goal they rarely complain. Though tired and stressed, they continually challenge themselves to do more in order to have more.

In life, the ultimate reward is not in having more (money, degrees, possessions) but rather in becoming more. In order to fulfill your potential and be the absolute best you can be you must be willing to face and accept life's greatest challenges. And providing those challenges are some of life's toughest coaches: the spouse who betrayed you; the boss who unfairly fired you; the jealous friend who ruined your reputation; the addiction; the illness; the financial loss.

Few people I know graciously accept these people or circumstances into their lives. When faced with unfairness, loss or injustice, they complain "This isn't fair! I didn't ask for this. I don't deserve this!"

Many will seek to hold someone accountable and blame for their circumstances rather than embrace the very opportunity that can bring them to personal greatness. Tragically, they fail to understand that within every hardship lies a great lesson.

This person or situation has appeared to benefit them and once the challenge is met and overcome, they emerge victorious.

It matters not whether we consciously chose our circumstances or have life hand them to us unexpectedly. The manner in which we learn life's lessons matters little. It matters more that we recognize each opportunity for what it is and learn anyway. Embrace all of your teachers, no matter how difficult they are. In the end, you will reap life's richest rewards and become a person of excellence.

Order your copy of The Secret Side of Anger and The Great Truth @

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The "SO - What" Method: Six Steps to Resolving Conflict

Conflict: two forces in opposition. Resolution: the process of finding a mutually satisfying solution. There's nothing threatening here yet for many they'd rather have a root canal rather than try to resolve a dispute. They either seek a quick departure or prepare themselves for an ugly battle. But conflict can be a very beneficial and productive force in any relationship if you have the proper skills and motives.

Too often when we begin the process we have one goal in mind - to find a solution to whatever the issue is. But somewhere along the way we become sidetracked with ideas of winning, getting what we want even at the expense of the other party. Other times our objective is to prove the other party wrong in an attempt to bolster our own self-image while simultaneously making them feel poorly about themselves. Furthermore, we mistakenly believe that because there are two opposing ideas one is automatically right and the other wrong. That notion is incorrect. Conflict is simply a matter of a difference of needs, opinions, or beliefs and very often has nothing at all to do with right or wrong.

 Here are six simple strategies to smooth the process of conflict resolution called the SO-What Method: 
 SO: be Solution Oriented. Ask,  "What happened? What needs to be done to resolve this situation?"

1. Always remember to attack the problem, not the person. Be respectful at all times.
2. Find common ground, a sameness, a link that bonds you to one another.
3. Approach as allies, not adversaries. Work together for the good of the whole.
4. Pay careful attention to your Attitude and Approach. Refrain from making inflammatory statements such as "What's your problem?" Or, "This is all your fault."
5. Choose a neutral location, one where both parties are on an equal playing field.
6. Know when to stop and take a break. Only issues of a life-threatening nature need to be resolved at that precise moment. Everything else can wait for a more suitable time.

In each scenario, we have the option to be part of the problem or part of the solution. SO-What? Be Solution Oriented. What can you do to resolve this situation to the satisfaction of all parties? It can be done with a few simple techniques and a thoughtful motive.

For more, read "Never Ever Ask This Question" @ and "M & M's: Motive and Method @

Order your copy of The Secret Side of Anger and The Great Truth @

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Pitfalls of Guilt and Shame

There have been times in our lives when most of us have struggled with issues of guilt or shame. I have. The night my mom and I put my dad into a nursing home was by far one of the worst moments in my life.  To a great extent this was due to the extreme guilt I was feeling over my perceived abandonment of the father who loved and cared for me for the sixty years of my life. Diagnosed with Alzheimer's several months earlier, we kept him at home with my mom for as long as we could. But he required far more care than we were capable of giving him. The nursing home was better equipped to provide round-the-clock attention. Still, the guilt haunted me every night until his passing. No amount of intellectual reasoning eased my remorse. "How could I do this to him?" I questioned. "He doesn't deserve it. He's such a great dad. He should be at home where he wants to be."

Guilt is the result of a sense of remorse over something we have done or failed to do. I once heard it described as "a bothered conscience." Guilt emanates from our  moral of sense right and wrong. If I am doing something I perceive to be morally acceptable, then guilt typically will not affect me. However, if I believe on any level that I shouldn't do something I can become infected with feelings of reprehension. 

Shame, on the other hand, more directly discloses our feelings of self. It reveals a sense of embarrassment for who we are more so that for an action we've taken. "I am so ashamed that I blamed you for something you had no part in. I'm a terrible friend." Guilt comes from what I did. Shame is the result of who I am.

Most commonly, both guilt and shame are the direct result of the high, and often unattainable, expectations we have of ourselves. "I should be able to work full-time, help my children with their homework, spent time with my husband, care for my elderly parents, and still have time left for myself." "I know I'm under a lot of pressure but I'm so ashamed that I lost my temper with you." We are conditioned to believe that there is something inherently wrong with us if we do not live up to or exceed a certain standard of excellence.

Unresolved issues of both guilt and shame can lead to anger, depression, low self-esteem, relationship problems, health issues, and a general unhappiness in life. But one can move beyond these debilitating emotions. 

     First: pay attention to  your self-talk. Negative comments will cause you more distress. Keep your internal dialogue positive.
     Second: take ownership of the situation when necessary. If  you are truly responsible for something, accept responsibility.
     Third: Make any necessary changes to improve matters if possible.
     Fourth: learn the lessons.
     Fifth: Vow to do better next time.
     Sixth: forgive yourself if needed.
     Seventh: be compassionate with yourself rather than judgmental.
     Eighth: put it behind you and move forward.

Emotions teach us a lot about ourselves. Each has importance and value. Be careful not to allow yourself to become entrapped in those that can become problematic. Resolve what is bothering you and move on to a more productive state of mind.

To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I'm Just Too Nice - The Truth About Passive Behavior

People often tell me, "My problem is that I'm just too nice! That's why I get hurt a lot." But what they perceive as a case of terminal politeness, I see as an issue of passive behavior. Don't misunderstand: most of these people truly are nice. But those who are yes people, who don' t disagree for fear of upsetting the other party, the keep-the-peace-at-all-costs people are not acting out from a place of virtue. They are, in fact, dealing with issues of fear and insecurity. Do any of the following behaviors apply to  you:

Are you concerned about how others may feel should you speak honestly to them about something you don't like about  them?
Do you say "yes" when you really want to say "no" but do so out of obligation?
Are you often overlooked, taken advantage of, used, mistreated, abused or easily manipulated?
Do you have a hard time standing up for yourself if you feel you are being treated unfairly?
Does the thought of someone being angry with you or thinking unfavorably about you because you voiced opposition to their way of thinking cause you concern?
Do you believe that nice people don't get angry and if you express anger you might be labeled a B*?

While your agreeable persona may give the appearance of one who is easy-going and kind-hearted, take a closer look. More likely you will discover some insecurities that prohibit you from being truthful with others. "If I say no to them, will they/I think I'm selfish?" "If I tell my mother I'm not coming over every Sunday for dinner, will she try to make me feel guilty?" "I'm the only Republican in my family. Others will give me a hard time if I share my opposing view about politics. And that will really embarrass me."

All of these behaviors are rooted in fear. No, not the terror-filled, heart attack-inducing, crippling horror that paralyzes people. I'm taking about worry, anxiety, concern. These are all levels and degrees of fear. And fear is directly related to how one feels about themselves. Those who are comfortable with who they are, who do not seek the approval of others nor define their worth by what others think of them are more apt to voice their feelings and opinions and let the chips fall where they may. They are fully confident that they can handle dissension and are not threatened by a good challenge. Even if the other party becomes angry with them or is vehemently opposed to their opinions and beliefs, they are comfortable maintaining their position. 

Stay nice. But work on your self-esteem and confidence. Be strong. Stand up for what you believe in. Learn to say "no" when necessary. The world will go on.

To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit