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Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage

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My wife and I  attended a fantastic seminar for couples. Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage was straight to the point on so many important issues, presented in a fun, laughable and easily digestible manner, for both men and women. Check out this video clip. Then contact me on how to bring this fantastic 6 hour seminar to your church or organization.

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Musings

Things We Control #2

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2) Your Relationships. Humans are relational beings. The human heart craves connection. Why else would solitary confinement be such a cruel punishment or the unheld orphan lack basic mental and physical development. The strong independent person still needs a hug, a pat on the back, a warm handshake and an encouraging smile.

Without human contact we lack a sounding board for our thoughts and feelings, feedback to hone our appearance and personality, and comparisons to regulate our self esteem and confidence. But with human contact we encounter the toxicity of others, the lack of boundaries into our personal space and the cruelness of the human heart.

Our ability to control our relationships is one of the three primary controls we have in life. While we can’t pick our relatives we can control their effect on our lives. It is under our control to set up boundaries, choose friends and regulate the purpose and depth of any relationship.

Determining whether a co-worker becomes a personal friend or if ending a business relationship in order to save a friendship is something each of us must decide. Remaining in a relationship that pulls you down and stifles your growth is a choice, a choice that can be changed. Deciding who will enter into your circle of relationships and how far that relationship will go is under your control. Knowing this and exercising your control gives you the freedom venture into unknown territory, to ‘take a chance’ through opportunities to meet new friends and experience new interactions. When you fully accept that it is up to you and under your control you no longer have to hesitate or avoid uncomfortable situations because the discomfort is under your influence. You have decided to be where your presence is needed, and then you decide when it is time to exit. You decide when to say yes and when to say no. But with this understanding of your power to decide and to control comes the responsibility to consider the feelings of others. With compassion and concern, firmness and decisiveness, you can be a strong blessing to those you love and care about. Your confidence is growing and your self esteem is rising.

Click here to go to the first piece in this three part article
Click here to go to the third piece in this three part article

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Musings

There are Only 3 Things I can Control

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Three things. When you boil it all down there are really only 3 things that each of us controls in life. And that’s only true if you live in the privileged and affluent parts of our world. For some it is only two or one.

Like the primary colors of red, blue and yellow combine to make the whole rainbow it is these primary factors alone that we have the ability to control. All else is a combination of the three.

Your Emotions. To feel is to be human. When a person is unable to feel sorrow, joy or fear there is often a psychological blockage that needs to be worked through. Avoiding situations that touch us in a deep way – like the death of a loved one, the thrill of an adventure or the risk of reaching out in friendship – can limit the depth that we as humans are able to experience life in its fullest.

Controlling our emotions is not about controlling our feelings. It is a matter of controlling how we respond and react to any given situation.

Between action and reaction, cause and effect, there is a moment of time for the human species in which only thought exists. Animals don’t share this opportunity. Their reactions are instinctive, they respond. But for a human, how we respond to a stimuli is always preceded by an opportunity to consider what our response will be.

Do I lash out with angry words when I am cut off in traffic, or consider the possibilities of what the other person may be facing. When the fire alarm goes off do I run for the door or look around and offer assistance. When an offer for intimacy comes do I consider all the repercussions before replying.

It is in that millisecond of time when I insert thought and logic that I become fully aware and fully in control.

Click here to go to the second of the only 3 things you control
Click here to go to the third of the only 3 things you control

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Leadership

Why Go It Alone?

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In their book ‘The Accidental Leader’, authors Robbins and Finley write:

No one leads alone. Leaders who do their jobs are continually consulting with others. They are always plugged in to other people. They use others as mentors, as peer review panels, as confidants to bounce ideas off. They schmooze, they copy, they complain. They listen, they steal. Sometimes they just turn their dials down and relax with friends. Leading is a very social function, or you’re not doing it right.”

Why do so many new leaders feel they have to go it alone?”

Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. The western image of the independent male, making it on his own, conquering and winning with only his own wits and resources to rely upon has sadly and wrongly infiltrated the American male psyche. And it is destructive. Whether you lead a large organization, small company, a family or only yourself – another man coming alongside you to share ideas, thoughts and truths is crucial to your success. Not only is it helpful in increasing your chances for success, but it makes life more fun and interesting. It can also provide opportunities for you to pour ideas and concern into another man’s life. And isn’t that what a life well lived is all about?

So how does a leader reach out to a coach or mentor? How does a man move toward a friendship? For most, this is within 4 feet, but it sits just outside the box we call our comfort zone. So just as we tackle most projects, or how we eat an elephant (one bite at a time), we reach out, pick up the phone, send an email and ask. We give up the fear of rejection, the awkwardness we may feel and accept the certainty that the offer for a cup of coffee, a lunch date or a drink after work is probably making the other man feel the same. That is why it is called the comfort zone and why success only happens in the uncomfortable zone, on the edges, where life is hot.

I have met too many men who bemoan the fact that they don’t have friends, a lot of acquaintances but no real friends. They knows guys from work, or the club. Their wives arrange social outings with other couples and the women guide the conversations. I know men who attend the mens ministry program at their churches and temples, but never really find another man or two to really open up to. Friendships are risky and can be messy, but add a richness to life that can not be gotten any other way. Having a coach or a mentor is like adding another set of caring eyes to your life and work.

A true leader can easily list the many people who contributed to his success, knowing he could not have done it on his own. And the difference between a grumpy old man and a kindly elderly gentlemen is how many other men he can call ‘friend’.

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