Do You Get Stuck in Your Disappointment?

Sometimes life throws you curveballs that you aren’t expecting where situations show up where you don’t feel the least bit prepared.  I am sure that you would agree, as you think of situations in your life where things didn’t go as planned, circumstances are often out of your control!

Recently, on vacation, I faced a circumstance that I must admit, was quite a difficult challenge.

To set the context— my husband Darren and I planned a “getaway” to focus and invest in our relationship. The trip was booked months in advance but even with the best planning, sometimes you really don’t know how things are going to work out.

As the time came closer it was obvious that things would look different than in the past.  Workwise, we both had a lot on our plate, so we agreed to make it a “work-vacation”, with balance of course. 

What we didn’t anticipate was how much business would actually have to take place.

What we had going on in our business at the time, was the closing sale of one of our properties and a property that was being refinanced.  The situation was complex, which included international wire transfers, lawyers, buyers, bankers, so many details, etc. etc. etc.  Nothing ever happens as planned or in the perfect time, and this uncertainty compounded the stress.

Committed to do our due diligence to deal with these urgent matters, sacrifices had to be made.  This involved a lot of time on my husband’s part, and for me, being patient and gracious as supporting and partnering with Darren was crucial.

I was doing a great job at my part, until it looked like there was no end.  His days involved staying on top of things, constantly, and having to travel, which meant a huge sacrifice on my part.

This was not what I expected.  Sacrificing our needed time away together, our vacation, fell well short of my expectations.


I had to admit that things were very different than what my heart wanted, which was dreadfully disappointing.  In an attempt to “suck things up”, to not add any extra pressure, I tried to deny what I was feeling and what my emotions were saying.  Unconsciously, I did not trust my emotions to help me through the situation.

I knew things had to shift when I recognized that feelings of frustration were upsetting me.  This was not serving us, or the situation.

I realized that I had to be real with “what is” which meant feeling my emotions and the disappointment.

What was needed?  It was clarity, wisdom, and support.  This was what really mattered.

Trusting my emotional awareness helped me reach out to a colleague to gain insight and perspective.  Being listened to, heard and validated, helped me understand what I needed to do to get through the situation.  Acknowledging these emotions, the valuable information that they offered, brought perspective in my life.

The Learning…

“I cannot heal or change what I do not acknowledge.”

Being real with our emotions serves us – Acknowledging and being aware of what they have to offer you is key to understanding yourself and others.

Emotional intelligence skills are powerful – Learning to regulate, manage and trust your emotions, gives you the capacity to reason and understand what your emotions are telling you so you can move forward in your life.

In order to move on, sometimes you need to understand why you feel what you do.  As you do, you will also understand why you no longer need to feel it.

How To Overcome Procrastination and Stress

One of the common issues that many of my clients want to overcome is procrastination.  When the important things aren’t getting done and the to-do list keeps growing, it is frustrating to feel like you will never be on top of things.

Is life driving you or are you driving your life?

Let’s be honest.  Sometimes life is far too busy when you have a “to-do list” that seems way too long.  Tasks, responsibilities, and demands keep piling up, and sometimes it is easy to loose perspective.

If procrastination is a pattern that is familiar to you, chances are that when responsibility piles up, you may find yourself putting things off to cope. However, in the end, this is the cause of a world of overwhelm.  Being, mindful of this is important to create change.


Habits are patterns that we adopt and do over a period of time that become familiar to us.  They are the way that we end up ‘doing life’ because our brains are hardwired for following these.  Yet when something is not working of us in our lives, like procrastinating, it is important to step back and reevaluate.   It takes awareness and courage to interrupt old patterns and change them.

Let me tell you a story where procrastination created an enormous amount of stress in my life.

In my college years, I had to learn how to deal with the demands of my studies, the endless school work— term papers, requirements and exams.  I had the best intentions to stay on top of things, however the to-do list often was overwhelming and I fell into the trap of putting things off. This led to me cramming to get everything done right before the deadlines. Year after year during each semester, I found myself procrastinating and doing the same thing over and over again.  Cramming to get everything done into a short block of time was intense and stressful.  Why was it that even though I had vowed that I would not let history repeat itself, it did!   While it came at the huge cost of lack of sleep, stress, anxiety and overwhelm, why was it that this was something I continued to repeatedly do?

It was years later that I acknowledged that I had developed the habit of procrastination.  It was showing up in various areas of my life

When examining why I continued to repeat this detrimental behaviour I discovered that there were underlying beliefs driving it. Perfectionism, needing to get things right, a fear of failure and self-doubt were some of the underlying causes.  Realizing this was not working for me, I knew I had to make changes in my life.

Is this something that you can relate to?  Have you found yourself in situations where the habit of procrastination interferes in your life?


Possibly you may have found yourself in a situation where you were dealing with a task that was difficult, so you put things off not knowing why.  Or there were too many things on your dreaded to-do list that you didn’t want to do, so you chose not to do them.  Maybe you were dealing with a task that demanded too much time so you decided to put it off and do it ‘someday’.  Maybe you found yourself in a situation where you were unsure of yourself and uncertain that you would ‘get it’ or ‘do it right’, so you procrastinated to avoid the discomfort.

When we procrastinate is something deeper going on?

What I discovered is that there were reasons for procrastinating. Often the issue is not so much about the to-do list— it is about our perspective and how we choose or not choose to deal with things.

For example, let’s go back to my college years.  As history kept repeating itself, what was really going on? I was pushing things off because I was fearful, felt insecure and doubted myself.    At times, I did feel incompetent and struggled with a lack of self-confidence.  At the root of the procrastination issue, there was definitely something more going on.

That is why it is important to examine WHY we procrastinate and to take responsibility.  Procrastination is a psychological behaviour that has an impact.  It can be a major source of anxiety and stress and it is important to have the courage to change it!


When life gets busy and you have an endless amount of things  to do, be aware of how you procrastinate.

We all do it in one way or another.  Catch yourself when you procrastinate, and be willing to make changes to avoid going down the path of overwhelm.

Be mindful to:

  • See it in the moment when it happens.
  • Identify the beliefs that drive it – Is it fear, insecurity or doubt? What is it?
  • Evaluate the cost – Is procrastinating working for you or is it actually working against you?  What is the impact?
  • Think about how to deal with things and choose not to procrastinate – How does this benefit you?  What is the reward?
  • Make a choice to be empowered – Commit to a plan that works for you to stay on top of your game and keep moving forward!

For me this means making a list of the priorities that need to get done and to simplify things by remembering what is most important.

How I do this— I have a timeline of when I will do it and I schedule it in my calendar.

I make a solid commitment to follow through with my commitments no matter what.  When there are too many things on the to-do list, I realize that it is important to admit it. I remind myself that asking for help is not a weakness, it is a strength.  Delegating responsibility is a wonderful strategy and people really do love to help.

What will you do to help yourself when life is far too busy?

Take responsibility to be your best, take one day at a time and don’t allow the ‘procrastination gremlin’ to distract you.   There will be less stress in your life and the load will feel much lighter.


Do Your Words Inspire Trust Or Distrust?

Our words are more powerful than we might think.  Consider a conversation you have had with someone… maybe it’s with your partner, a co-worker, your child, spouse or a friend.  In conversation, words and phrases are used, and exchanged such as, “That’s not the right thing to do” or “Are you sure you know what you are doing?”.

Sometimes we don’t notice the power of our words, and the truth is once words are spoken, they can never be taken back.   Words have an impact!


The impact of words can be empowering or disempowering, and they can have a lasting impact in a person’s life.  Think about some of the conversations you have experienced.   What words and phrases linger in the memory vault of your mind?

It is important to be mindful of the words we use and the conversations that we have.  As humans, we are more sensitive than we think.  We hear words and we interpret them in a certain way, and we don’t always have clarity or understanding on what was said.  It is easy to get triggered and get lost in a conversation.  Our inner dialogues, thoughts and feelings can make things more complex, and “movies” begin to play in our minds.  Past experiences and “stories” can lead us to lose sight of reality. 

To illustrate, let me tell you a story…

Sandra and Nichol were best friends for many years.  They shared many life experiences, and had many things in common.  When circumstances moved them to different cities, they were intentional about their relationship, trusted each other to make this a priority and as a result had a strong friendship over the miles.

At a time when Sandra was facing some difficult challenges, she would often call Nichol on a regular basis for support.  What she didn’t know (and what Nichol was not communicating) was that she was dealing with many stressful situations of her own.  

On a particular day when Nichol felt stressed and overwhelmed, rather than giving her friend the support that she needed, she blurted out comments that were quite blunt.  Sandra felt criticized and hurt.  Instead of addressing the comment that was made, Sandra felt threatened and chose to withdraw.

Nothing was said for many weeks and this “bitter root” grew.  The ladies talked less frequently, and Sandra concluded that she couldn’t trust her friend anymore.  As thoughts and feelings of distrust were provoked, the relationship and conversations between the two ladies grew distant.  Sandra was guarded, defensive, and felt she had to protect her heart.


Dr. Judith E. Glasser’s research, Conversational Intelligence expert, sheds light on this. When we protect ourselves, there is actually something happening in our brain.  Protection is an instinctive process. 

Since the beginning of time, we were hardwired to react and to protect ourselves when we feel threatened.  A part of our brain (the Primitive Brain) when triggered, affects how we respond. There is a decision made within seconds— “Will we choose trust or distrust?”  When distrust is activated and when it is in overdrive, our brain freezes and shuts down.  Fear is triggered and our natural instinct is to protect and defend ourselves from being hurt.  Naturally behaviors show up— we appease, disconnect, and avoid.  Stories can play out in our minds, we shut down, and we aren’t open to influence.  This is when we lose sight of reality.


Research shows that when trust is activated in a part of our brain known as the Executive Brain, something wonderful happens.  Trust acts as a catalyst for higher levels of openness, awareness, and connection, enabling deeper levels of conversation.  We naturally share our thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams with each other.

In moments when we feel distrust it is important to recognize what is really going on inside of us.  To have a powerful conversation, assume nothing, check things out, be transparent, and speak the truth. 

The story continued…

Distrust was running rampant in the ladies relationship and they felt the ill affects. While they could not pinpoint exactly what happened, they decided to evaluate things, hit the pause and rewind button to examine where things went wrong.  What they were able to figure out was where the relationship derailed, where a conversation had created a bad experience that tipped their relationship into distrust.  Knowing how valuable their relationship was, they became intentional about reestablishing trust.  How?  By being empathetic to each other, and asking for what they needed.  They were able to rebuild their relationship.


Perhaps you are experiencing challenges in a relationship.   Have there been words expressed that make it difficult to trust?

Be accountable for the words you speak, hold others accountable and engage in powerful conversations.

  • Be transparent and speak the truth.
  • Listen to connect and to understand.
  • Don’t make assumptions and check things out.
  • Be intentional in your relationships and build trust.

Our words are powerful and the conversations that we have shape our world and create connection.  Being mindful of our words and building trust through conversation is life giving and life changing!


How do the words you speak impact the people in your life?

Is Your Unsolicited Advice Actually Helping Your Relationships?

Have you been in a situation or dilemma where you needed support from a friend and instead you were given unsolicited advice?

The outcome— you withdrew, felt the strain in your relationship, which impacted you and your ability to connect.

On the flipside, think about a situation where someone was talking to you about an issue that they were dealing with.  They trusted you and needed a listening ear.  As your heart was naturally compelled to help, you began to give advice  (synonyms for advice – to aid, help, guide, suggest, recommend, consult, instruct).

As good as your intention was, giving unsolicited advice didn’t actually solve the problem.  Nor did it help open up meaningful conversation,  strengthen the relationship or build trust.


Giving advice is often a wonderful thing in relationships when it is asked for.

When advice is not invited or welcomed, it can come across as assuming, imposing, not listening or understanding, not being empathetic, questioning, being judgmental, arrogant, or being unsupportive.  Rather than bridging connection between two people, it does the opposite.  It brings disconnection.

I think of some difficult situations I have faced where all I needed was a listening ear.  When unsolicited advice was given, it felt like “a heart crusher” where I felt not listened to, misunderstood, and so alone (even though I truly know that this wasn’t the other person’s intention).

On the flipside, I think of the times when my kids needed me as a friend to listen and be open, and I stepped into my parenting/coaching role and gave unsolicited advice.   The impact was that it closed down the conversation in the moment making it difficult to trust.


  • Do you respond by fixing…  or problem solving?
  • Do you want to contribute and help a person find a solution to their dilemma or problem? 

As noble as believing that you are helping the person in need is, this isn’t always the best choice to make and ultimately what the other person desires.  When you position yourself as “the advice giver” (when it is not called for) there is backlash; your good intentions may be misinterpreted.  The other person may end up feeling unseen, unheard and possibly misunderstood.


  • Brittany – “My boyfriend and I are having trouble getting along.  This has been going on for some time.  Every conversation we have seems to end up in a conflict.  Our relationship is so difficult”.
  • Friend’s response – “The writing is on the wall… He is not the right guy for you. When relationships are difficult, something is definitely wrong.  You should end the relationship and move on.”
  • Carl – I never seem to have enough time to do the things that are important to me.  I feel like I am on a treadmill going nowhere. I am so stressed and exhausted.  There is way too much going on in my life!
  • Friend’s response – You have to make time for yourself and this is costing you.  You need perspective.  What you need to do is sign up for the yoga classes that I am taking.  It will definitely help you deal with the stress and energize you.

Unsolicited opinions, comments and advice that is given, can have an unintended effect and actually brings stress and harm to the relationship.

Consider a different response…

Let’s look back at the examples that were illustrated.  What would be another way to respond?

Empathy is a doorway to discovering greater understanding and connection in a relationship.  What is possible when you listen to connect?

What insights would be discovered?

  • In Brittany’s case – What her friend didn’t know was that Brittany and her boyfriend had both been through very difficult breakups and they were dealing with a lot of fear.  They were trying to learn how to trust again and they were having a real hard time.  Rather than telling Brittany what to do, what if her friend had given her the emotional support she needed and simply listened? 
  • In Carl’s situation – His friend didn’t know that business was struggling and that Carl was working long hours trying to figure out how to provide for his family.  He was having trouble paying the bills and felt depressed.  Rather than diagnosing him, giving him solutions and telling him what he needed, what if he listened and was there to simply support his friend?


The reality is that many people in life are going through many difficult situations and what they really want is simple…

            They want someone to talk to.

            They want to be listened to.

            They want someone to care.

Given the opportunity to express their feelings and emotions in an atmosphere of love, acceptance and support, they often do find their own answers.  Attentive and active listening is an amazing process!


  1. Listen to discover and understand with patience and acceptance.
  2. Resist the need to fix – Hold the person as creative, resourceful and whole.  Trust that the answers lie within them.
  3. Engage in meaningful conversations – Ask questions about what you don’t know and be curious to know more about their life.
  4. Ask permission – If you feel an intuitive nudge and have something you would like to share, ask permission to share your thoughts.

Listen well, ask before giving advice and see how it strengthens your relationships. 



Why You Need Emotional Intelligence To Succeed

By Dr. Travis Bradberry

When emotional intelligence first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success—IQ. Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills:

Personal competence comprises your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.

Self-Awareness – is your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen.
Self-Management – is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct
your behavior.

Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives in order to respond effectively and improve the quality of your relationships.

Social Awareness – is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on.
Relationship Management – is your ability to use awareness of your emotions and the others’ emotions to manage interactions successfully.

Emotional Intelligence, IQ, and Personality Are Different

Emotional intelligence taps into a fundamental element of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect. There is no known connection between IQ and emotional intelligence; you simply can’t predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.

Emotional intelligence is an essential part of the whole person.
Personality is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s the stable “style” that defines each of us. Personality is the result of hard-wired preferences, such as the inclination toward introversion or extroversion. However, like IQ, personality can’t be used to predict emotional intelligence. Also like IQ, personality is stable over a lifetime and doesn’t change. IQ, emotional intelligence, and personality each cover unique ground and help to explain what makes a person tick.

Emotional Intelligence Predicts Performance

How much of an impact does emotional intelligence have on your professional success? The short answer is: a lot! It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous result. TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills, and found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.

Your emotional intelligence is the foundation for a host of critical skills—it impacts most everything you do and say each day.

Emotional intelligence is the foundation for critical skills.
Of all the people we’ve studied at work, we’ve found that 90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim.

Naturally, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence. The link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t yet been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to emotional intelligence.

You Can Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. The pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.

Emotional intelligence is a balance between the rational and motional brain.
Plasticity is the term neurologists use to describe the brain’s ability to change. As you discover and practice new emotional intelligence skills, the billions of microscopic neurons lining the road between the rational and emotional centers of your brain branch off small “arms” (much like a tree) to reach out to the other cells. A single cell can grow 15,000 connections with its neighbors. This chain reaction of growth ensures it’s easier to kick a new behavior into action in the future.

As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviors, your brain builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with emotional intelligence without even having to think about it. And just as your brain reinforces the use of new behaviors, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviors will die off as you learn to limit your use of them,


Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

How to Achieve What You Most Want?

Are you one of the many people who sets intentions, has goals and creates a plan?  Studies show that setting goals is key to success.


There was a study done on a group of graduating students who were in the Harvard MBA Program where the students were asked to set clear written goals for their future and to also make plans of how they would accomplish this.  In this group of students, 3% of the students wrote down their goals, while the other 13% had goals however they did not write them down. The remaining 84% of the students had no specific goals at all.

They interviewed the students ten years later and the findings were astounding!  The 13% who had goals but had not written them down—were earning on average, twice as much at the 84% who had none.  The 3% who had clear written goals— were earning ten times as much as the 97% put together. (Article in – What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School)

These extraordinary results are inspiring! If you want to succeed, setting goals is one of the most important things that you can do.

In my years of experience as a Coach, one thing I have discovered is that when it comes to setting goals, a lot of people are resistant.  Why is this?  Is it enough to just set  “SMART” Goals that are— Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely— or is there more to this?  I believe there is.

In order to accomplish your goals, you must set goals around the things that are MOST important to you.  Your goals must align with your values.

When your goals align with your values you have a higher chance for success!

What do you really want?

  • Do you want to have a better self-image, be healthier, or be more successful?
  • Do you want to build a stronger relationship with someone who is important to you?
  • Do you want to have more fulfillment and happiness in your life?

Set goals and align your goals with your values!

Here’s how:

  1. Clearly define what your values are.  What is most important to you?
  2. What do you want?  Make a list of some of the things that you want to achieve.  What do you want to do that would make you happy and proud?
  3. Evaluate what you wrote down -What is one thing that stands out?  Make sure it aligns with your values.
  4. Set a goal – Create a clear plan of how you will accomplish your goal.
  5. Be motivated from the inside out – Know why is it important to you?  What is the reward?
  6. Be sure to tell someone and create accountability – With support you are more likely to succeed and you have people to cheer you on.
  7. Accomplish your goal and celebrate!

Setting values driven goals is a discipline that pays off!  Make sure to give it a try and guaranteed, you will experience increased fulfillment in your life.


Living Life Without Regrets


I once read a quote (author unknown) that I often think about:

“As you climb the ladder of success, be sure it’s leaning against the right building.”

I love the metaphor of climbing the ladder because it speaks to me about the commitment and effort it takes to be successful. To get to where you want to go, hard work and sacrifices are required!

Yet the reality is that when life becomes all about doing and achieving, and you loose sight of the most important things— family, friends, significant other, personal growth, enjoyment, health— your values, is it worth it?  At the end of your life, is this something you might regret?

Let me tell you a story that impacted my life…

Several years ago when my dad was in hospice, there was a particular incident that I remember that I will never forget. Life experiences impact and teach us many lessons in life.

My Dad was diagnosed with cancer, and when it came to the final chapter of his life, I spent many hours with him at the hospice.   He had amazing care and Dad being quite social, preferred to leave his door in his room open.   Noticing activity in the hallway was a regular occurrence that often helped pass time.

There was a common occurrence that happened every few days, where there were two men in business suits who came to visit a man across the hallway.  I couldn’t help but be curious who these men were.  Dressed in such fine attire —who were they in relationship to him?  It made me wonder if he did not have family or any other friends.

My Dad’s situation was quite different.   Surrounded by family and friends on a regular basis, he was supported with such love and care.  His room was often loud with laughter as people visited and shared stories about the events of his life.

It was one late evening when I was alone with Dad, that a sad thing happened.  Dad had fallen asleep and as I went to close the door, I saw the undertaker walking down the hallway carrying a large black bag across his shoulder.  The “man” had passed away.  There were no more visitors coming and the room was now empty.

It wasn’t long after that my Dad passed away too.

Loss of a loved one has an impact!

This was my first experience of loosing someone that I loved and it was not easy.  It was a very difficult journey!

Yet this experience impacted me in a powerful way as time gently healed the pain.  Experiences  like this are life changing.  I realized how when you loose someone—things change, you change, and as a result you look at the world in a whole new way.

It is now that I often ponder–

  • Do I live a life without regret?  
  • Am I climbing the ladder that represents my values of success?

These questions open a world of discovery and help me reflect on what is most important and think about the legacy I want to leave behind.

It doesn’t have to take a difficult experience  to reflect on living a life without regret.   Are you living the life that you most want and are you living your life without regret?

A life well lived is a life that is examined.  Pondering questions that inspire us to live our biggest life is something we will not regret!



Toxic Relationships

One of the most precious commodities of life is time and there never seems to be enough of it!  It comes and goes way too quickly and when life gets crazy busy, and the demands seem endless, life is like a treadmill of doing that pulls you in so many directions.  When you go too fast and really are too busy, you have no life.  You suffer and your relationships suffer, because regular deposits of connection are being neglected.  The relationship bank is in the red and this always demands attention!

Minimum investment produces minimum results and this is never satisfying.

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending an Organization Relationship System course in Vancouver.  I was reminded how every human being is wired to have meaningful relationships in their lives, whether it is in the work place, in a marriage, a partnership, friendship or in a family system.

Meaningful relationships are what makes you thrive!

It’s not news that relationships can be difficult and when it is, it often looks easier to hit the disconnect button than to stay and find resolve. When misunderstanding or conflict arise, tempting options of doing the avoidance dance may seem more attractive, tuning out may be your tendency, and isolation may be your way of hiding.

Unfortunately, as tempting as this may be, this never produces any results. For the sake of the relationships that matter most in your life, you must engage, be real, and stay open.  Don’t turn away but lean in when things get tough, and commit to finding a solution.

My husband Darren and I celebrated our 29th anniversary this past weekend and what we have learned is, in spite of our tendencies to run and hide, we have often had to make the choice to deal with the stuff that affects our relationship, whether we want to or not.

The stuff doesn’t just show up in a marriage but with kids, friendships, family, in the work place, and it almost always demands serious attention.  It doesn’t just go away!

Do you want to be right— or do you want to be happy.  The reality is that sometimes you can’t be both and you have to make a choice! 

This doesn’t mean that you have to agree on everything and constantly be in harmony.  You may strongly disagree, and never understand where that person is coming from.  For the sake of the relationship, you have to care enough to disagree, and let go of your need to be right. Being right isn’t what is most important, the relationship is!

What is the common ground where you can connect, find value in the relationship, and be willing to work towards a resolve?  Just finding one thing is a great start.

One of my most favorite resources for coaching relationships and helping my clients resolve conflict, is the work of Dr. John Gottman.  The research of Dr. Gottman is a thirty year study of what makes relationships work. Most of the research that was done involved couples, yet the research is so profound, that it can be applied to all systems of relationship, in families, partnerships, marriage, management, teams and organizations.

Several years ago, Darren and I chose to invest in deepening our relationship and attended a Gottman seminar in Seattle.  When you have tools to make your relationships work, you are able to experience a relationship at a whole different level.  Relationship Intelligence is crucial.

One of the things that we learned was to be aware of the toxins that creep into relationships.  These toxins are most destructive and they destroy the positive environment that relationships need in order to grow.

What are these toxins?

  • Criticism – attacks, bullying, overly driving, dominance, harsh comments, chronic criticism
  • Defensiveness – not open to influence, deflection, not accepting responsibility
  • Stonewalling – not open to influence, passivity, disengagement, withholding, withdrawing, unresponsive, avoidance, uncooperativeness
  • Contempt – rolling your eyes, disgust, sarcasm, ridicule, mimicking, name calling, cutting others down, hostile gossip, undermining, demeaning communication

Yikes, now doesn’t this hit a sore spot!  The reality is that we are all human beings and these show up from time to time. However, when these toxins become a consistent way of behavior, this is destructive and the relationship will not survive.  Being aware of this in your life and in your relationships is crucial.


Who wants to be toxic?

Catching toxic behavior, taking responsibility for the impact, and being mindful to work at building strong and positive relationships, is rewarding and it produces results.  This requires consciousness, time, commitment and investment. You can’t be too busy on everything else, not focusing on what matters most, and be expecting an empowered realtionship.  It just won’t happen.

Positive relationship is life giving and it is what gives our lives more meaning and purpose.  When this is our experience, we are fulfilled, satisfied and happy!


What are the relationships like in your life?

  • Do the people you interact with know that they are important in your life?  What are you communicating to them?
  • Is there toxic behavior in your relationships?  What changes are you willing to take responsibility for?
  • How socially aware are you?  Do you notice the impact that you make?
  • How satisfied are you with the relationships in your life?
  • What is one step that you will take to have more meaningful relationships in you life?

Focusing on relationship is not a Valentine’s event, it is an every day event, that will bring a great richness to your life.  Isn’t this what you want?

Are you willing to invest more time in your relationships?  Doing it for one month and creating more Relationship Intelligence, will start some positive habits and behaviors in your relationships that will that will greatly enrich your life.

Start your “investment plan” now and reap the results.

Scroll to Top