"Look What You Made Me Do!" How to Avoid the Blame Game

July 16, 2019

Blaming is a common reaction. The blame game used to be one of my primary arsenals. Years ago, whenever I felt helpless or overwhelmed, I blamed the dog, my kids, or even the chair in the way when stubbing my toe. Anything in earshot received a rant of blame. "Look what you made me do!"

Hmm. Does anyone or anything really make us do anything?So why do we blame? Think about it for a moment. An intense feeling boils up and out comes the biting remark. It's easy and takes the heat off of us. And what's the heat? Painful and uncomfortable feelings. Phew! The hurt stops temporarily. 

Posted in Communication & Interpersonal Skills, Emotional Intelligence

Good Communication Is Vital for a Successful Business

June 13, 2019

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~George Bernard Shaw

Do you find yourself having to repeat a little too often “Remember, we discussed that in our meeting. . .”? Or someone's memory of an interaction is totally different from yours. If so, poor communication could be the culprit. Effective communication is a two-way street, not a cul-de-sac. It’s about connecting. Talking with someone is different from talking at someone. There are many people, especially executives, who feel they communicate clearly but then get frustrated by having to [...]

Posted in Business and Leadership, Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Love Has No Labels

February 13, 2018

Maybe you’ve seen the images? A white square superimposed over a picture of your friend, mom or coworker, an NFL quarterback, celebrity or news anchor. Inside the box, this phrase: “love has no labels.”

This campaign—though “campaign” can’t really capture its essence—is spreading, and fast.

The motto is simple, as the most powerful revolutionary thoughts tend to be: “Before anything else, we are human.”

Personally, I cannot help but think of the opening to Pride & Prejudice, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that…” It seems painfully simple to say that we are human. Obviously, we [...]

Posted in Communication & Interpersonal Skills, Brain Fitness, Mindfulness and Perspective

How to Cultivate Healthy Collaboration and Team

December 13, 2017

Nothing is more exciting and empowering than working on a project or playing on a dynamic team—until it’s not. An energetic brainstorming can go completely awry by a subtle putdown. A co-worker makes a critical comment about a blog posted on the company newsletter. Someone makes a disparaging remark about another person's work. Most everyone has experienced something like this, right?

Posted in Business and Leadership, Communication & Interpersonal Skills

How to Give Feedback Effectively for the Best Results

January 06, 2016

Often we hold back from giving feedback to others, even when it’s important to us and to the health of our relationship. Maybe we’re afraid we’ll hurt their feelings even if it's constructive, or we’re afraid of their reaction. Or maybe we think they’ll feel we’re criticizing them. But if we don’t give others feedback, we may hold on to resentment or anger toward them, which can spill over into later communications and even cause distance in our relationship.

Posted in Business and Leadership, Communication & Interpersonal Skills

How to Give Effective Feedback to Children

April 23, 2014

One of the biggest misconceptions about creating healthy self-esteem in children is that praise is an important ingredient in building it. But praise can actually deplete self-esteem. Why? Because too much praise causes children to become dependent on what other people think, instead of focusing on what makes them happy and how they feel about themselves and their actions. Praise promotes pleasing others and relying on others for validation.

Posted in Perfectly Imperfect Parenting, Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Meaningful Mentors

April 19, 2013

I write regularly for a women’s business website, and I often have the opportunity to interview career women who are really making a difference in their workplaces and their communities. In these interviews, we often discuss how they got where they are, what kinds of things factored into their success, and how they balance it all. One factor that almost always comes up is mentors, and the importance of women helping other women.

Posted in Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Mindfulness Has No Sense of Hurry

October 15, 2012

This past weekend I was in Lewistown for my son's football game. Prior to the game, we made a quick pit stop at the local truck stop. As I was waiting to use the restroom, a mother and two young girls were coming out. The mother held the door wide open while waiting for her oldest who was meticulously washing her hands. She bombarded her daughter with "Hurry! Hurry!" then turned to me and said: "Kids! They have no sense of hurry!”  Ah, a parenting stress moment; we've all been there.

Posted in Perfectly Imperfect Parenting, Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Lying Is Easy; Honesty Is Loving

June 08, 2012

Honesty is a value I have espoused for many, many years. I didn’t always, though. In fact, when I was growing up, I was a prolific liar. Like a chameleon, I mirrored the people I was with or transformed myself into what people wanted me to be. I made a game out of fooling people and seeing how smoothly I could transition between my Shakespearean acts. But my game came to a screeching halt when I awoke as a young woman and realized that I could not tell the difference between what was real and what was a lie. Whatever lie you tell yourself enough, you begin to believe.

Posted in Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Values and Work-Life Balance: What Is Most Important?

May 25, 2012

As I sit waiting for my flight at the Denver airport, I am struck by the busy but disjointed scene around me. The gentleman next to me has been surfing the web nonstop for an hour. All but one person out of about twenty at United Airlines Gate B82 are hooked into computers, cell phones, iPads, or a Kindle (including me as I write this blog). No smiles, no conversation.

I remember the warm conversations I’ve had on past travels—delightful exchanges with a dad traveling with his kids, a student on her way home for spring break, a businesswoman who gave me a crash course in wardrobe-building. [...]

Posted in Communication & Interpersonal Skills, Emotional Intelligence