If you've been dealt another blow like staff shortages, funding cuts, dealing with disciplinary action, or general overwhelm, you might start to feel negativity wash over you.
You know that negativity can spiral if you don't catch it so you might be wondering:
How can I stay positive?
Questing how to stay positive is the theme of my clients this week. They want to know how to stay positive and motivated, and move towards their goals when they feel tired, overwhelmed and challenged.
One client is working on a certification process. She is studying for the next level exam. Yet, time is already running away from her. She is quickly becoming stuck in not-enoughness.
Another client is in the process of starting a new program and isn't sure if she can pull it off within the deadline. Self-doubt has crept in and is robbing my client of her confidence.
A third client was dealt a nasty blow at work. She's feeling insecure about her future. It's hard not to be negative and sarcastic. "Why bother trying so hard?"
The message we hear is to keep our chin up.
Social media posts, motivational books and well-meaning peers tell us:
Heck, I preach positivity too. I am constantly working with my clients to help them see the positive, be confident, and believe it is possible. However, how do you do that in the face of so much challenge?
The secret isn't to focus on what we are experiencing.
It's to focus on what we are thinking.
You can learn to focus on the positive
It is not what you see that makes up your reality but what you think about what you see. We all experience similar events but react to them differently.
Suppose you have a message to call your kids' teacher because of missing assignments.
Think about the thought accompanying each of the above parents' emotions.
Our inner voices are powerful. They impact our emotions and our experiences. The messages we tell ourselves about our events create our reality of the event.
Our inner dialogue controls our outer experience.If I tell myself leading my team is hard, I will notice all the hard things I experience daily.
If you tell yourself the day started bad, is getting worse and going to be a gong show, guess what you'll experience?
The secret is getting control of what is going on in your head.
You can use The Inner Guidance Cycle to get control of your thoughts.
Here's how 👇🏻
Step back from what you are doing, take a deep breath, or grab a piece of paper to write on.
You'll never shift your thoughts if you stay stuck on the hamster wheel.
Start becoming aware of your inner dialogue.
When you are frustrated, unenthusiastic or cynical, start to notice what is happening in your head.
Notice your thoughts. Becoming aware of the constant stream of thoughts helps to manage them. You'll likely notice a running commentary of your day going on in your mind. Most times, it's rambling on, and you aren't controlling what you are thinking.
Try consciously listening to your inner dialogue rather than having it run in your subconscious. The more you notice it, the more aware you will become of what you are telling yourself.
Start to shift your thoughts by examining them.
Perhaps you think, "This is the worst thing that could happen."
Is it? My guess is it could be worse.
Maybe you repeatedly say, "I don't know if I can pull this off."
Notice how that allows doubt to creep in.
Once you consciously shift your thoughts to the ones you want to be thinking, you can get back to "work."
Shifting thoughts isn't necessarily easy. It takes practice and discipline.
For example, changing "I don't know if I can pull this off" to "I can do this" isn't a one-and-done process. However, when you slip back to "I don't know if I can pull this off ...
You can learn more about The Inner Guidance Cycle in
Mastering Confidence: Discover your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system
Staying positive requires willpower
Positivity isn't a magical pill. It's work. It's choosing what you think, what you focus your thoughts on and learning to manage your thoughts. That process all takes willpower.
Willpower is also known as self-control or discipline. Using your willpower to train and control your thoughts requires the same energy you would use to resist the donut and stick to your workout schedule.
It's also the same energy you use to stick to responding to an email you've been avoiding, staying focused on the annual report despite your cell phone notification calling you or biting your tongue when someone irks you.
Willpower is a powerful tool for leaders. It's willpower that helps you stay positive, productive and poised.
If you want o learn more about using willpower in your leadership, check out the Willpower Essentials course here.
Shifting thoughts is a lifelong process. It's called Inner Work.
Learning to choose thoughts, managing thoughts and changing thoughts IS the inner work of a great leader. Do the inner work. It's worth it!
As a nonprofit leader, you've probably struggled with your emotions during a meeting. And, you know that feeling of being about to lose your composure is not fun! I've been there too, and it sucks!
When we are out of control, we are often reacting to what's going on:
All of these are examples of losing control. In these situations, we feel powerless to hold onto our feelings and behaviours. We simply react.
Are You Playing the Blame Game?
Many of us blame that reaction on other people around us or the situation. Those darn Kleenex commercials always make me cry. My daughter tells me it's my fault that she cries. If I cry, it makes her cry.
We do the same in business settings.
We Give Our Power Away
When we hand our thoughts and feelings to other people or the bigger "world," we give our power away. So, in essence, you are saying. I am not in control of my emotions, or I am not in control of the way I act.
It's that belief that makes you feel powerless.
When you feel powerless, you certainly don't feel confident!
Who's fault is it?
It's not anyone's fault, but we look to lay blame somewhere. Really, is it the rain's fault that you feel sad? No. Nor is it your boss's fault that you feel overwhelmed. And it's not the employee's fault for questioning something in a staff meeting. I know it sure feels like it. But hear me out for a moment.
Regain Your Sense of Control
When you gain access to what is going on inside of you, you can regain your sense of control and power.
We can see rain as a pain in the butt or a blessing. We can enjoy the sprinkles as we take out our umbrellas or grumble and groan at how it's wrecking our plans. It's up to us how we see it. In the same way, when we do self-reflective work, we can begin to feel grateful for the disgruntled staff member. They are growing our conflict resolution.
Take Back Your Power With This Tool
Here is the tool to gain back that control and increase your confidence. Using the Inner Guidance Cycle, you can shift from giving your control away to taking your power back.
There are 4 steps to the Inner Guidance Cycle: Pause, Ponder, Pivot and Proceed.
Let's use the example from above to see the Inner Guidance Cycle in action.
🛠 The Tool: The Inner Guidance Cycle in Action
PAUSE: Stop and take a deep breath.
When your boss hands you another task, and you begin to feel overwhelmed, then PAUSE. Often, our first reaction is to direct frustration and anger at our boss. That gives power to them. They are in control of how you feel if you let them be.
When a team member asks a pointed question at the staff meeting, you may feel triggered and put on the spot. You know they said it to make you look bad. Your automatic reactionary response is to lash back at them. Before you react, pause!
Take a deep breath and begin to tune into yourself.
PONDER: Reflect on what is going on inside of you.
Take time to check your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. These are the parts of your Inner Guidance System. Just like a compass, they can guide you. Take time to PONDER and reflect. They help you identify your triggers.
Do you think your boss is a jerk? Perhaps you are wondering how you will ever be able to handle the workload. You might be thinking that you have to do it immediately. But, on the other hand, you could be telling yourself how unfair this is.
Do you believe this employee is trying to get you fired? Do you want to squash them, quiet them or put them in their place? Just notice the thoughts.
Are you experiencing a sense of overwhelm? Anger? Frustration? Despair? Incompetence?
3️⃣ Body Sensations:
These are often the clues that tell you what you are feeling. They help you become smarter about emotions and better able to name and tame them in the future.
Start to reflect on what set you off. You're still PONDERING at this stage.
🤔 What was the trigger?
Take time to consider what caused you to react strongly and quickly.
When a team member asks you a question at the staff meeting, and you immediately feel your composure slipping, consider the trigger.
Example of triggers
Our triggers are often around "not enoughness."
You may also be triggered by
💭 What mistaken beliefs do I have?
"I have to do this now."
Do you really?
"I have to do it perfectly."
What does good enough look like? What is the real expectation versus my own "perfectionist" expectations?
"I can't say no."
"I need to have an answer."
"They are out to get me."
💜 What values are not being honoured here?
Perhaps your value of family time is being squashed because you will now have to work late. Maybe you feel that you will have to rush this project or another one now, and that impedes your value of doing good work. Perhaps you are not feeling respected or appreciated.
This whole reflection piece in the PONDER stage of the Inner Guidance Cycle serves to awaken new insights. This awareness is what allows you to take back control.
As you sift through all of the stuff inside you, you'll see the mess of thoughts, feelings and body sensations begin to settle, and you'll often be left with a clearer picture. It is that clarity that can make you do a bit of a shift in your thoughts and feelings. That is the PIVOT stage.
PIVOT: Shifting how you see things
When you see things in a new light, you shift your perspective. PIVOTING allows you to head in a different direction. Perhaps instead of feeling out of control and angry with your boss, you take a deep breath and ask if you can have a moment of their time.
PROCEEDING back into action
When you are proceeding, you are taking your finger off the pause button and PROCEEDING back into motion. You might ask if you can renegotiate the deadline. You might suggest splitting the task between you and another person. You might say no. Any of these actions put you back in control and feel an increase in confidence.
By moving through the steps of the Inner Guidance Cycle, Pause, Ponder, Pivot and Proceed, you begin to take back your inner power. Instead of feeling out of control, you begin to regain a sense of power. But this time, it is internal power.
It isn't your power over the situation or power over another person. Instead, you've found your voice. You've connected to what is truly important and discovered your strength from within. That's the true meaning of being in control. This inner power is your inner confidence.
To be in control of yourself, do the inner work. Connect to your Inner Guidance System. You'll be glad you did!
We've all been to a nonprofit staff meeting where there are items that shouldn't be on the agenda. And often, it makes for a painful and long-drawn-out meeting. We wonder to ourselves or text our colleagues, "Why are we even talking about this?"
Often that's because nonprofit leaders haven't learned what belongs on a staff meeting agenda. Without training on how to run a staff meeting, we are left to follow what our predecessor did. If they did it for so many meetings, it must be the right way, no?
Learning what goes on your staff meeting agenda will help you feel more confident, competent and in control.
Ask yourself these questions:
Let's start first with what's on your staff meeting agenda.
Your staff meeting agenda should be prepared and provided to those who will be in attendance several days before the meeting. They need to know what to expect. Therefore, they may need to prepare. Additionally, if you are running an engaging and collaborative meeting, your team members may have items to add to the agenda.
So what should go on a staff meeting agenda? Here are 10 questions you can ask yourself when you prepare for your next staff meeting
Does this belong on your nonprofit team staff meeting agenda?
1) Does everyone need to know it and discuss it?
If it is an item that only certain people need to discuss, either put it on a different meeting agenda or put it at the end of their agenda so that those people who the topic is not relevant for can leave early
2) Can it be done as an email update?
If you were providing information, an email update might be fine. If you need a discussion around something, you may want to give the email update first so that people have time to prepare before the meeting. It's important to be clear on the agenda item what the agenda item is. It's not information sharing.
Instead, the agenda item becomes
3) Is it the right time?
Often we start talking about things before we have all the information, knowledge or information, and it can create anxieties, tension and confusion. Or we talk about things that aren't yet resolved, and really people shouldn't be privy to yet.
Be cautious and trust your gut when you ask yourself, "Is it the right time to talk about this at this meeting?" Your intuition will know best.
4) What is the point of sharing it?
Are you sharing information because it's something employees need to know, because it will help them somehow or because they need to prepare for it? If you can't figure out the point is for sharing it, don't share it.
If you do know the point, be clear on what the point is. Please don't assume that everyone knows why you're sharing it.
5) Is everyone there that needs to be included to discuss this item?
It's annoying to have a discussion that can't be resolved because the key stakeholder isn't at the meeting. When this happens, we often go around and around, but no one can make a decision or answer a question because the person with that power, authority or knowledge isn't at the meeting.
Be sure the key players are at the meeting for that particular item if you put it on the agenda.
6) Do we have time for that discussion?
Some discussions take time. When an agenda is crammed full, and we throw a topic in there and expect to brush over it, that often causes frustration for the people in attendance. They won't have time to explore, ask questions, provide suggestions and dig deeper.
Brainstorming, for example, cannot be done well in three minutes. If an agenda item needs more time, create a separate meeting for it.
7) Is this the most efficient use of our time?
Pulling a team together is costly and takes significant organizational time and resources. So make sure you're using that time and those resources wisely.
8) If this is a sensitive conversation, is it the right time to discuss it?
Even though some topics are relevant for everyone, sometimes those conversations are difficult. It's not always the right time to discuss them. That may have to do with what's going on organizationally, in the world, or someone's family. Remember to be sensitive about the topic you put on your agenda.
9) Consider the urgency of the matter.
Even though everything may be relevant to the agenda, that doesn't mean it needs to go on the agenda. If it's not an urgent topic and the agenda is already full, hold onto that topic for a future meeting. Give time and attention to the most pressing things, not just for you in the organization but also for your employees.
10) Is this the right place for this agenda item?
Lastly, once you've decided that it does go on the agenda, be considerate of where you place it on the agenda.
Things that need more discussion and focus should be done earlier on.
Additionally, things that need more composure for a difficult conversation should be done earlier.
You want to end on a positive, uplifting note. Therefore ensure the last item will make people feel good as they leave the meeting.
Running an effective and engaging staff meeting is much easier when you are more conscious and intentional about creating your staff meeting agenda.
1) Schedule a few minutes into your calendar to prepare your agenda.
2) Consider what belongs on your agenda, running potential items through the above list of questions.
3) Feel confident, capable and in control as you run your next team meeting.
Preparing is one of the first steps to feeling more confident running a staff meeting. When you prepare your staff meeting with intention, you will feel more confident, and your team will find it much more valuable and engaging.
Jennifer recently came to a coaching call infuriated with her boss. Jennifer was a middle manager and found herself entangled in a triangle of sorts with her boss, herself and her team.
Often her boss would undermine Jennifer in meetings. Without knowing all the facts, he would make a decision and announce it before conferring with Jennifer.
By the time we got onto our coaching call, the above scenario had happened numerous times. Jennifer noticed how it triggered her anger and prompted ineffectiveness in the team. The team didn't know whom to believe anymore. It was all a big mess, and Jennifer felt undervalued and unsupported. However, Jennifer hadn't had the courage or understanding of how to address the issue with her boss. Therefore, she'd been avoiding it.
Have you ever avoided a tough conversation?
We have all done it, but avoiding tough conversations does not resolve them. On the contrary, it only worsens them and often leads to deteriorating your team's effectiveness. Jennifer had realized that. It was why she'd brought the issue as a topic for our coaching call.
Jennifer started with why it was important to figure out
Through coaching, Jennifer was able to get reconnected to why she needed to engage in this potentially intimidating conversation with her boss. She was passionate about her staff members being supported and wanted them to have solid supervision. In the end, addressing the conflict with her boss would be better for her and her team. Even though it would be difficult, it was worth figuring out.
Take the first step to resolve the issue
Jennifer realized that in a "perfect" situation, her boss would recognize incongruences in messaging and deal with them himself. However, life isn't perfect. Jennifer knew she needed to be the one to tackle the problem head-on. She did just that. Jennifer took the first step and arranged a time to meet with her boss and then shared her concerns.
The result isn't always perfect, but it's a movement forward
Now, of course (remember, this isn't a perfect world), he didn't quite see the story like Jennifer. He did, though, become more aware of checking with Jennifer before he issued new standards of practice. As a result, Jennifer felt more confident and sure of herself. By stepping into the difficult conversation, Jennifer discovered she could fight her own battles rather than hoping they would magically disappear.
What is the tough conversation you need to have?
Perhaps you've found yourself in a similar situation, sandwiched between frontline staff and management. Other times you may have found it is the supervisor who isn't dealing with their team, and you see the mistakes happening. In that place, the tough conversation needs to happen with your subordinate, encouraging them to handle their reports more effectively. It could also be peer-to-peer where your co-worker is stirring the pot, causing havoc on the team.
When you realize a storm is brewing and know it's not going away, it is probably time to wrestle the tough conversation yourself. Below find the steps that will assist you in moving through the challenge.
Your 3 step plan to help navigate your nonprofit leadership challenge
1) Identify the issue
Notice that you may have been avoiding or hiding from the issue. Perhaps you push it away, praying someone else will deal with it. You've probably noticed, unresolved, that the issues continue to rise again and again. Each time you become aware of it, you probably tense up, get a knot in your stomach or feel anxious. By noticing when something is off, you help identify the problem that needs to be dealt with clearly.
Jennifer recognized the challenge was when her boss skipped over her role and function and did her job. She would have preferred that here and her boss discuss the issue before communicating them to the team. But instead, she identified the problem as feeling undermined.
This step is about getting clear on what precisely your challenge is so that you can communicate it.
2) Take responsibility for moving things forward
Stop pushing the problem away and blaming others for not fixing them. Instead, recognize that it is your job as a leader to resolve the issue. No, it may not be your problem but acknowledge that it is your responsibility to lead your team into a more effective, cohesive working environment.
That may mean that you need to be the one that grabs the bull by the horns. Jennifer did just this when she initiated a conversation with her boss.
3) Create your plan for dealing with the challenge
When you realize the problem is not going to go away and no one else will deal with it, it's time for you to address it. The best way to move through the muck is to be clear about what you will do it.
Dealing with challenging exchanges is not always easy but worth it
Even though they are tough, I encourage you to take the initiative to have tough conversations. You will find your confidence and courage increase the more often you tackle them. As a result, your team will be more effective, and you will also discover that you can enjoy your work more.
If you need more help planning for your tough conversation, try this.
Are you scared of someone on your board? Maybe not scared. Perhaps they make you very uncomfortable, or for whatever reason, there's tension.
Keep reading. I've got some help coming your way!
Brenda's Board Challenge
In a recent call, Brenda asked for coaching on an upcoming board meeting. Brenda told me that she hated board meetings because one of the board members was nasty to Brenda when she did Brenda's performance appraisal ten years ago. Brenda still remembers she felt attacked by that board member.
Since then, Brenda doesn't trust the board member and indicates they have a tenuous relationship. Brenda struggles to work with this board member effectively.
Brenda got some coaching
In our coaching conversation, I asked her about that performance appraisal. Brenda indicated the issue on that performance appraisal was something that she wished she'd handled differently. She realized now that she has grown a lot since then.
Brenda accesses her inner wisdom
By utilizing The Inner Guidance Cycle, by coming to coaching to PAUSE and then PONDER, Brenda realized her thoughts were full of an old storyline.
Brenda also became more aware of her body sensations. Brenda would tense up any time she had to engage with this board member.
Brenda realized she was feeling incompetent and lacked confidence every time she had to talk to that person.
In the PONDER step of the Inner Guidance System Brenda looked at her thoughts, feelings and body sensations as indicators of what was going on, Brenda increased her self-awareness.
Brenda's new awareness was that she'd been holding onto old hurts, old stories, and past conflict. Brenda realized that she had not allowed her relationship with her board member to grow and move past that incident 10 years ago.
Brenda found new perspectives
Once Brenda identified the old patterns of thoughts and feelings, we started looking at different perspectives, and Brenda was able to PIVOT
Brenda felt lighter and more confident
By the end of our coaching call, Brenda was ready to PROCEED. She had a new mindset around this particular board member.
Your turn: Do you avoid someone on your board?
If you've ever avoided board conversations or have a challenging member, you are not alone. My guest on this week's podcast, Heather Terrence, says we all know boards can be a little bit sticky.
That doesn't mean you should avoid some of those more challenging members or those difficult conversations. In fact, you must address tough conversations!
As Heather says in our podcast, it's your job to liaise between the organization and the board, and thus it's your job to address difficult conversations.
Help to have those Brave Board Conversations!
You can learn more about strategies that Heather suggests to have Brave Board Conversations in this week's podcast. You'll also find that Heather shares a link to her board governance checklist. If you want support with your board, certainly check out the services that Heather offers here.
If you want help working through The Inner Guidance Cycle with a current challenge, review the steps of the Inner Guidance Cycle here. For coaching to help you move through the steps, book a call here.
Let it go!
Stop carrying around all that old hurt, pain and frustration! It's not helping you enjoy impactful leadership...nor is it helping you be the best leader you can be! As someone famous says....Let it go!!
Have you ever avoided a tough conversation, that you know you should have?
We all have. Unfortunately, when we don't deal with them, they tend to fester and problems get worse.
Keep reading to learn how to create a plan to get you through "that" conversation in a way that feels authentic and confident!
Let me start with a story:
I have a decision to make today…..ok…let me rephrase that. I’ve made a decision, now I need to communicate it to someone, and I’m not looking forward to it.
❓️Can you relate❓️
Do you have a conversation you need to have with someone and are dreading it? 😩
Having tough conversations takes discipline.
You need the self-control to do it, even when your inner self is screaming:
Your inner voice keeps you small!
To shush that nattering voice that keeps you lacking the courage to deal with the thing with integrity you need willpower.
Willpower is that inner will that will tell all that negativity to be quiet so you can awaken that courageous you that is hiding quietly in the background.
Having a tough conversation takes willpower!
And here’s the truth: You need to strengthen your willpower so you can handle that tough conversation and get done what matters most!💪
Here's how willpower & tough conversations fit together
Let look at the components of willpower as they relate to difficult conversations. Willpower is the ability to:
💥manage your thoughts.
💥manage your emotions.
💥resist urges and distractions
💥focus on what matters most!
Imagine being a leader who can keep your thoughts and emotions in check and handle a tough conversation with courage, confidence and integrity!!!🙌
Let's back up a moment
Imagine the next tough talk that you have coming up.
My guess is several things could come into play.
Now, let's look at how your willpower, or lack of willpower may come into play. When you think about how you define it as a tough conversation, consider:
🔹What thoughts come up for you?
🔹What emotions are connected to those thoughts?
🔹Where might you allow yourself to be distracted?
🔹What urges do you have about that meeting?
🔹What will be important about focusing during that talk?
👉️Thoughts, feelings, resisting urges and distraction and focusing, all of the components of willpower are all going to play a role in that tough conversation. It will be your inner discipline or willpower that will help you stay engaged in a conversation when you don’t feel like it;
You need a plan!!!! 👇️Here's how:
The best way to stay authentically and courageously in that uncomfortable conversation is to pre-plan. You need to know ahead of time:
You, my dear, need to have a plan to use your willpower wisely.
✏️Here’s your homework.
Identify the next difficult, tough or challenging conversation you have.
Members of The Training Library can find this WEBINAR: How to prepare for a tough talk so you can handle it with integrity to help you plan your way to confidence!
Do you work with a bunch of women? Do they sometimes drive you nuts?
I walked into an all-female meeting a while back and immediately knew it was going to be an hour full of sarcasm, snide comments and passive aggressiveness. And I was right! OMG! They cut each other off, spewed darts at each other as they spoke and refused to "play nice." I just wanted to shake them all and say stop! Can't you be nice to each other?
We work in a predominantly female sector
The majority of people that are employed in the non-profit sector are women, so my guess is you work with a lot of them. I'm also going to venture a guess that you find them "emotional" and that those displays of emotions get on your nerves. I'm curious who's driving you crazy today? Your administrative support, your boss or the team lead? Maybe it's the whole dang team!
Your mood today plays a big role!
Here's the thing, how you are feeling, your mood, affects how tolerable you are of their behaviour.
Your mood impacts how their attitude affects you!
This is what it can look like instead
Coming from a place of compassion and feeling a bit more patience may allow you to address the issue, rather than the person. I am NOT suggesting you let things slide and allow people to be rude, ignorant and disrespectful.
Don't take their comment personally
This is what you can do to deal with moody women on your team
One sure way to find the patience for dealing with other women: Choose your mood. Tune into this Ted Talk to hear the science behind this idea. But here's the thing, you can change your mood. You can lift yourself up, and, it doesn't take much time.
🎶 Mambo # 5 🎶
🎶 Pump up the Jam 🎶
🎶 Rock around the Clock 🎶
Are you smiling?
You didn't even need to HEAR the music, and I know already I've changed your mood! You are hearing the songs in your head...the beat..the tune..the energy. Makes you want to dance, doesn't it? Are you humming?
Boost your mood!
If that's not enough
I get it. This is in some ways only a temporary fix. The reality is that ongoing negativity and moods in the office can turn things toxic pretty darn quickly. Here are a couple of more resources for you.
But always, start with you! Take responsibility for YOUR mood! Trust me that will have a ripple effect!
Has this ever happened to you? You know something is wrong, but you don't do anything about it?
But you don't do anything about it.
Why don't you, or so many women, address these issues?
Before I answer that question, let's look at an example of a woman who is no longer staying quiet about injustices faced by her and other women in the fundraising sector.
Last week Elizabeth LeClair courageously wrote an article for CBC News addressing an issue that had been festering in her heart and mind for years. Read the article here:
Why did Elizabeth come forward now?
What changed? What gave her the courage and confidence to do that?
I don't know. But let me take a guess:
Having the courage to address moral issues can be scary and challenging. We see people have moral courage when something shifts for them.
Is there something you have been holding back on addressing?
What needs to shift for you? Do you need to develop more confidence, connect with other supportive people, get clear on what your values, morals and ethics are, spend time on personal development or is there something else?
When will you take action to grow yourself,
so that you can address the issues that's been aggravating far too long?
Think of it this way:
If you keep waiting for things to change, they won't. Nothing changes until you change. That may be learning something new, changing your perspective, changing how you interact with others or even changing jobs. But if you keep waiting, you will continue staying, stuck, right where you are!
What would happen if you decided to try something different?
Use Elizabeth's example as inspiration for you:
I suspect that Elizabeth decided she didn't want to stay stuck in that place of inner turmoil any longer. She decided to try something different. I'm certain that took time. But somewhere along the way she started the process of growing herself and making an internal shift that allowed her to take external action. She explains in this article:
Start now, my dear. Take the first step, whatever that step is for you, to being to grow yourself from the inside out. Equip yourself with the confidence and knowledge to address whatever issue is facing you. It won't be easy. But there are a ton of other women cheering you on, me included!
Are you happily married? Be honest!
Is your marriage going good or is it ready to fall apart? If you are still happily married you are in the minority these days. The question is then, how do you keep a strong marriage in spite of everything else you’ve got going on?
3 Strategies for strengthening your marriage:
1) Respect him and his situation
As a leader, you have a lot to deal with. No matter what your partner does for a living, so do they. It may not be the same challenges that you are faced with, but it is their challenges. Respect where they are at. They have bad days too. They get overwhelmed, stressed and may feel exhausted at the end of their day.
Ask them about their day. Express interest in their incidents for the day and the worries they are having trouble letting go of. Let them dump. Allow them to vent. Be a listening ear for a few moments. It shows you care, both about their situation and about them. Allowing them to let go of their day puts them in a better place. They might also then be in a better place for you to then turn to you and let you do the same.
2) Ask for help
Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. It’s not gonna happen! Tell them what you need. Don’t demand it. Don’t insist. Ask. Here I am really talking about the over and above normal things. Perhaps you have a daily routine, a division of chores and responsibilities that sorta works. Then one crazy day, you just can’t handle your end of the bargain, just because you’ve had a really bad day. Ask your partner to pick up pizza on the way home. Ask for him to bath the kids, take the dog out, wash dishes, give you 20 minutes piece or sit and listen to you. Ask. He won’t know what you really need until you ask.
3) Offer help
On the same token, there will better days for you, and worse days for him. Give to him those days. Offer back whatever you can offer. A little extra sleep, a neck massage, a special dessert, extra time for him at the office or a listening ear. Whatever it is that you can give back, do. He won’t ask for it either. In fact, he may not even know that he needs it. Use your intuition to guide you.
Marriage is a give and take
There will be times when you are the one giving and other times, receiving. It may seem very unbalanced, for long periods of time. That’s just the way it is. The awareness though is what will help to bring the balance back sooner. Lean into each other often. Lean in through the delightful times and through what seems like merciless times when you aren’t sure how you are going to make it.
What is one thing you can do today to strengthen your marriage? Share below so that you can get other people motivated and inspired in growing their marriages as well.
Last weekend, I’m sad to admit, I lurked around the aisles of Walmart to see whom a guy we knew was really with. Ernie and were shopping and we’d seen him at a distance. It looked like him, but it didn’t look like his wife. A minute later I discovered, it was, in fact, not his wife that he was on a little shopping excursion with. Before long, I was doing a bit more sleuthing through Facebook and discovered yet another couple in our community that had separated.
We are shocked
Ernie and I have lost count of the number of our friends, neighbors and people in the community that have broken up. We are often flabbergasted when it is someone who’s been together for years and years. It seems to be such a regular occurrence.
Isn't it supposed to be "for better or worse?"
I mean I get it if there is something really wrong. But what happened to “til death do us part” and “for better or worse”? Are we not supposed to work things out and hang on through thick and thin?
I've seen the worst, and don't like it so much
Let me tell you, we have seen the worse! Together Ernie and I have dealt with our own disagreements, financial challenges, parenting difficulties, mental illness, sick parents, trouble with the law, family feuds, horrible bosses, unplanned pregnancies, vehicle accidents and the list goes on. It has not always been easy. The truth is sometimes in our marriage, it’s been downright nasty. Yet, we stuck through those times.
I much prefer the better
Even bigger than that, we’ve seen the “better side”. On more than one occasion, together, we have watched the sun set over the lake on the most beautiful, calm evening. We have been privileged to see our son throw his daughter up in the air and hear her giggling, out of breath, saying “Again Daddy, again!” We have travelled the country together as proud parents to dance and Tae Kwon Do competitions and to basketball and baseball tournaments. We helped our kids see their dreams come true, from buying a guitar, to buying a house. Ernie and I have sat together, as best friends, night after night at the kitchen table or one the deck sharing the experience of our lives jointly. I couldn’t do it without him.
The challenge though is when everything else gets in the way
Yet not everyone makes it. You might be one of those ones he is hanging on. I commend you for that. Faced with grueling challenges at work, the stuff we have to deal with as we raise our families and our own inner battles around weight, confidence and household duties, there is little left over for our marriage. But we need to figure out how to make our marriage one of the parts of our lives that gets attention.
I've been learning about this for a while now
Ernie and I are celebrating our 27th anniversary this week. We will once again spend it camping together; focusing on giving back to each other. Here are 3 things I’ve learned about creating a successful marriage in the last 27 years.
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