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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

THE POWER OF THE APOLOGY





What’s so hard about apologizing? Obviously, when pride is in the mix, it makes everything more difficult. But, offering an apology, no matter how minor the infraction, is a powerful freeing agent for all parties.

One man learned this valuable lesson when he realized he was partly to blame for the rift in his family. “I spent my mental and emotional energy justifying myself while casting blame on everyone else,” he admitted. Continuing, he added, “It took years for me to realize that my own knee-jerk reaction to other people’s poor behavior was only making matters worse. Looking back, I can see how I was partly to blame for the divide in my family.”

This man took the high road when he reached out to each family member and offered a humble apology for anything he might have said or done that they found offensive. The results? Tears, forgiveness, cohesion, and a lot of hugs.

But what if his family members hadn’t responded so positively? He would still have enjoyed the benefits of offering an apology. We have no control how other people will react to our confession, but we do have control over how WE respond. Taking the high road leads to higher ground and reaps great benefits:


  • We experience freedom –  Taking ownership for our actions speaks volumes to other people involved in our infraction. Not only will we experience freedom from carrying a heavy burden—an apology can bring relief to the other person, as well.

  • We can enjoy a clear and tender conscience – Our conscience is our best friend because it nudges us when something is amiss. If we cover up an error on our part, we risk the danger of having a hard or, worse, a seared conscience. This can result in insensitivity. Insensitive people withhold apologies from those who need them the most. Listen to your conscience and do the right thing.

  • We humble ourselves – Humility often carries a negative connotation. We feel weak or vulnerable if we intentionally humble ourselves before others. Vulnerable? Probably. Weak? Never! While pride is the worst enemy to healthy relationships, humility is the best friend. True, our natural instinct is to protect our own egos; however, pride builds walls. The longer we allow a wall to stand, the harder it is to demolish. Let humility raze that wall so you can rise and walk the high road.

Do you owe someone an apology? When will you pay that debt?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Inconsistency, Hypocrisy . . . or something else?

Image result for hypocrisy


Some time ago I was coaching a small business owner who was frustrated over reaching a standstill in growth and profits. She had a plan for how she wanted her business to look; but, she had forgotten about self-care—growing and developing herself before growing and developing her business. She didn’t see the discrepancy until I pointed it out to her. Then I took a bold step and said, “You first need to become what you want your business to be.” Challenged, but relieved to having discovered the gap, she whole-heartedly agreed and committed to create a plan that would help her grow so her business could benefit.

This is similar to a person who requires certain behavior from someone else, yet they themselves are not willing to give what they demand. One woman complained that a co-worker was extremely unfriendly. “She never even says ‘hi’ to me,” she lamented to a friend. The friend wisely inquired, “When was the last time you said ‘hi’ to her?” “I never have,” she admitted. “I’m waiting for her to speak to me first. She’s worked here longer and should know better.”

What is it about human nature that our expectations of others often exceed the expectations in ourselves? Is it inconsistency, hypocrisy . . . or something else? I believe it was Shakespeare who said, “Consistency, thou art a jewel.” Imagine how much more valuable our relationships—our businesses—our families—our communities—would become if we put ourselves on the changing pad before we put others on the chopping block for failing to do, say, or become what we are not.

Perhaps then we could modify Shakespeare’s quote to read, “Consistency, thou art a jewel. Duplicity, thou art a fool.”

  • ·         Be honest - What expectations do you have of others that you have not met yourself?
  • ·         Who do you trust who could point out possible inconsistencies so you can become a better person?


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Motivation – A Blessing and A Curse

Some friends and I were out for dinner when the conversation turned to the subject of teenagers. “I can’t believe how unmotivated this younger generation is,” one friend remarked. “They don’t want to work. They don’t want to drive. They don’t want to do anything.” Another person chimed in, “I’ve been mentoring a young guy who dropped out of school and quit his job. He sits at home all day and plays video games. What a waste of potential. I think I’m more motivated about his success than he is.” 

As I listened to their laments, it dawned on me—motivation can be both a blessing and a curse.  Let me explain.

Ambition is key to success. Ambitious people set goals and create plans to accomplish those goals. They recognize the importance of engaging a coach who helps them stay focused and accountable. The key is that the motivated person is the one who is setting and achieving his own goals. Motivation, in this case, is a blessing.

The curse is when we become more excited about someone else’s follow-through than they are. It’s almost as if we can’t help it. Our motivation gets the best of us and tries to connect with the best in the other person. Instead, there’s a major disconnect. We see potential in a person and eagerly design a strategy with goals that, when met, will result in their success. What’s missing? The other person’s passion. Yet in an act of good-will, we pick them up and carry them on our back to the goal line. By the time we reach the end, we’re exhausted but they’re energized because they merely went along for the ride. Case in point—my friend who discovered he was more passionate about his mentee’s success than the young man was.

Other signs that a person lacks motivation

  •  When there is little or no movement on his part toward change.
  • When there is resistance to positive change that would lead to independence
  • When it is obvious that a repeated cycle has become the person’s comfort zone.

If this rings a bell of recognition, don’t despair. Simply exit from the draining relationship and find someone whose motivation for life will connect with your passion to see him succeed. Keep looking. I’m sure they’re out there somewhere.