Friday, July 29, 2011

Self-Image, Your Response to Self-Esteem

We all have a certain image of ourselves. This mental image is based on our personal assessment of our abilities, looks, intelligence, popularity and any number of other personal qualities. Our emotional evaluation of that image will determine our level of self-esteem.
Even though we tend to think that our self-image is accurate and based on reality, it’s not. People rarely see themselves objectively because we view everything through a complex set of perception filters. We simply can’t help but see ourselves through the window of our beliefs about who we think we are. Life is entirely about perspective and each of us has our own unique perception of reality.

What kind of self-image do you have?

Is your view of yourself empowered by feelings of self-confidence, or is it clouded with limiting thoughts of self-doubt? Have you unknowingly placed invisible boundaries on what you are able to achieve because of hidden limiting beliefs, or do you see a world of limitless possibilities ripe with opportunity? What you see is directly related to the way you respond to your own self-image.
But if self-image is based on perception, then we should be able to change it, right? Well, we can! How would you like to develop a custom made perception of your own abilities? How about a mindset where you know for certain that anything is possible, and where feelings of doubt, resentment, and failure no longer exert their influence on you?

Self-image and your expectations

It all starts with the mental picture you hold of yourself; your internal self-image. In order for you to free up your vast hidden potential, you need to learn to fully appreciate just how unique and valuable you really are. You also need to understand that no matter where you are in life, you have the ability to unleash enormous potential and create unprecedented change.
You are the one who gets to decide what you get out of life. If you are truly convinced that you deserve a life of abundance and joy, you will find a way to create that reality. On the other hand, if you don’t see how such a life is possible, or if you hold the feeling that you don’t deserve “the good life,” your results will probably meet your expectations.

We can all benefit from an updated image

Your self-image can limit you, or empower you, to a much greater degree than most people think possible. If your self-image is an outdated old picture left over from an unhappy or emotionally taxing time, it probably isn’t serving you very well. Not only that, but it doesn’t even represent the person you really are. All it does is hold you back!
Many people carry around deeply ingrained beliefs anchored to undesirable events from the past. Those beliefs are not only limiting, they are also obsolete. Dismantling them and replacing them with new, updated, empowering beliefs will completely change your self-image. As a result, your self-esteem will skyrocket. Remember, self-esteem is based on our emotional evaluation of our self-image.

Change your filters, change your life

We live in a world that can and does overwhelm many people. Learning to maintain a positive mental and emotional perspective is a very valuable skill. It can quite literally change the way we see ourselves and the world around us. But a positive emotional perspective needs to be based on a positive self-image or it won’t be able to hold up under pressure.
To rebuild our self-image and bolster our self-esteem we need to start on a very core level. We need to get in touch with our TRUE SELF and harmonize our beliefs and actions with the person that we really are. We also need to let go of unrealistic negative baggage that isn’t serving us. I know it sounds like a tall order, but remember; this is your quality of life we are talking about.

3 steps to creating a more empowering self-image

1. Figure out who you really are and what you stand for. You are not your job, your friends, or the results you produce. You are someone with core values and standards. To create an empowering self-image you need to get in touch with those values. Once you do, then do your very best to live by them. This will create a sense of inner harmony and purpose.
2. Let go of pride and embrace self-honesty. When we lie to ourselves about who we are it creates internal conflict. You don’t need pretenses to be worthy of your own approval. We all have shortcomings and it is perfectly alright to admit it. Having room for improvement doesn’t make us less of a person, but lying to ourselves does.
3. Always choose the higher path. Don’t cut corners on the journey of life and don’t violate your personal ethics for any reason. Once you figure out what you stand for, then stand firm – your self-image depends on it. This world is full of people who will do anything to gain an advantage. Never ever stoop to that level. Choose the high road and you will discover the unmatched advantage that comes with an empowering self-image and a health self-esteem.
Do you think self-image is really that important?
Have you thought about self-esteem from this angle before?

Think, Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Are You Ready to Blossom?

I am always amazed when something that I hear or read has a really profound effect on me. It is like I am awakened to a new state of consciousness.
A number of years ago I read the quote by Anais Nin “And the day came [for the rose] when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”. She was talking to me. My inner voice had been telling me for a while that there was more to express and discover about myself. I had ignored it with all kinds of rationalizations. This quote jolted me into admitting that the time was now to make changes that made me feel good about myself. The first step was to start taking better care of my body by commiting to a consistent exercise program. It has been over ten years since I made the commitment to myself. I like that I am doing this for me.
Most of us do not know what we are capable of until we begin to stretch ourselves. Usually we limit ourselves with our beliefs. My limiting personal phrases have been: you are too old or you should have done that earlier or you have too much to do. I have learned that when I commit to something I also find the time to follow through.
When we begin to admit that there are areas in our life where we are "tight in the bud" we start seeing new possibilities and finding ways to begin to blossom. After I had success with the first step I began to add more steps because it felt good to expect more of myself. Being a big procrastinator I have had to push through my excuses not to do something.
In addition to being painful, staying "tight in the bud" leads to boredom, tiredness and a lack of vibrancy. I think that it is especially important to recharge ones life in the years of forty-five and above. By then much of life and thinking has settled into a predictable routine. It is also when our inner voice becomes louder and louder urging us to stretch ourselves and to set forth in new directions. Those who heed their inner voice and take the risk to bloom discover that their life has become vibrant.
Are you ready to Blossom?

Think, Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.

Mid-Week Hump W/Seddi Kakrada

10 Things that women do or wear 
that are not sexy to men!!

Hollywood makes women look sexy all the time. It can be hard to look like Halle Berry and Eva Longoria. The television shows and movies make it look easy for women to become beautiful everyday. Men have high standards and expectations of women and we as women need to have them for ourselves. Today’s women need to put in some effort, so they can get the men of their dreams. There are ten things that women should not do if they are still on the market looking for “The One”.

1. Clothes that are too tight or too short.

No man wants to see everything all in one night. Show one part of the body and cover the rest up. For example, a low cut top with nice jeans and heels, instead of booty shorts, mid baring top and heels.

2. A woman who is desperate to find a man.

It shows on her face and in her body language. A man wants a woman who is independent and not grabbing on every man that comes by. So, take it easy and relax!!! Enjoy hanging out with your girls and “Mr. Right” may pop up.

3. A woman that tries to drink like a man.

No man needs to see a woman throwing up in a trash can or in public. Slow down. Two hard cocktails should be enough for a woman. Ladies, you want to talk to a man not scare him away.

4. A woman who fights any and everybody.

This is not an episode of “Basketball Wives” and it is not cute to see two women fighting in public. If you cannot act like a mature woman without fighting, maybe you need to stay home or get some counseling. A man does not need to see his date or girlfriend fighting every night.

5. The crazy hairstyles and weird hair colors.

Blonde and red are fine for highlights but a whole head of purple, green and neon colors are not ok. A man wants to see who you truly are. The Mohawk is not for everyone!! The spikes cannot look good on every woman. You can still wear the natural hair or weave, but do not go crazy with the hair colors.

6. Randomly blowing smoke in a man’s face…not sexy!!!

Take your cigarettes outside the club or the date. It is not cute. Or try not bringing them with you until you are official together.

7. Cursing for no reason at all.

There is more to the English language than f**k and s**t…you went to high school other institutions, so please learn how to use other words in the English language. A man wants to date a woman not a Kobe Bryant imposter.

8. Grabbing on a man’s manly stuff.

It is just tacky and it is annoying to see grown women grabbing on a man’s stuff like it is a FDA approved steak. If he wants you he will find you, trust me.

9. A woman who always talks about her weight.

Hit the gym with him or try out a group workout class. Do not get on his nerves about the 5 pounds you gain over the weekend. Try having some fun sex to help burn a few calories.

10. Unshaved everything, from legs to armpits to other private areas.

It is not a cute thing…It holds odor and it does not make men want to come back for more. Please wax, shave, pluck or laser remove those unwanted hairs.

Ladies, you should embrace who you are, but if you are on the market like I am. You need to make yourself look amazing and clean up on your outside behaviors and appearances. No one wants a scrub, so dress and act like the classy lady that you are. Set up high standards and you will attract a good man. If not, just call or leave a message, and I will hook you up with someone.

Let me know your thoughts below


Sedinam "Seddi" Kakrada is a Broadcast Journalism grad student at UNLV with a B.A. in Communication. Seddi has combined her two favorite topics, sex & communication and is striving to become the first African-American "Dr. Ruth".Seddi hails from Annapolis, MD, and looks forward to answering your questions and helping you succeed!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goal Setting Tips: 7 Deadly Sins of Goal Setting

Goal setting is the surest way to maximize your chances of success.

These goal setting tips highlight some of the common issues that arise with goal setting and how you can maximize your chances of goal setting success.

Seven deadly sins of goal setting

1. Setting too many goals

One of the natural mistakes that people often make is that they set too many goals too soon. It is not uncommon for the people that I see to set 5 or 10 specific goals. But this usually has negative results.

If you have too many goals your attention and effort is less focused and you are likely to feel overwhelmed.

Take a closer look at your goals and prioritize them with this goal setting activity, so that you can focus your time and effort on those goals that are most important to you.

2. Failing to set short-term goals

When I examine the goals that some athletes, students and work professionals set, a common mistake they make is that the do not set short-term goals. Maximize your goal setting success by using short-term SMARTer goals to achieve long-term success.

3. Not monitoring your progress or adjust goals

Over time your priorities and circumstances may change. Also, you may find that there are obstacles and difficulties to achieving your goals. Research on athletes and top business people show that regularly reviewing your goals maximizes your chances of goal setting success. Goal setting software is a great tool for monitoring and adjusting your goals.

4. Setting unrealistic goals

If you are a couch potato there is little use in setting a goal to run a marathon in two weeks. Likewise, if you have just left college you can’t expect to land a job as the CEO of a company. By setting unrealistic goals you are setting yourself up for failure.

5. Setting vague goals

Often inexperienced goal setters will set vague goals. Becoming a success or getting fitter are general goals. These goals could be more specific by stating what things you need to become a success or the number of times you need to exercise per week. By setting specific goals you have a clear target that you can focus on.

6. Not setting measurable goals

If you do not set measurable goals then how do you know where you are in your goal progression? Better still, how do you know that you have achieved your goal? When setting goals think of words such as: how much, number of times, distance, lost, gained, how long, and so forth. Goal setting software helps in measuring and tracking your goal progress.

7. Focusing only on outcome goals

When I ask my clients to set goals, they generally set outcome goals. They have a goal of winning the Olympics, of becoming a CEO of a multinational company, or getting the best mark in the class. This tremendous emphasis on winning can be destructive to your goal setting success.

Outcome goals are somewhat out of your control. You cannot control another person’s ability or performance. The only thing you can control is your performance. So try to set goals that are less outcome based, and more focused on your own individual success.

The 7 goal setting tips to stick to:

  • Frame your goals in positive statements
  • Make SMARTer goals
  • Write your goals where you can see them and reward yourself
  • Pick goals which are most important to you
  • Have goals that are in line with your vision or your company’s mission
  • Setting goals in areas that you can control
  • Make a public commitment to your goal
No matter what your goals, whether you are setting a goal to be a millionaire, want to achieve financial independence or get your dream job, having a goal setting plan is a proven method for setting and achieving them.

I hope this Goal Setting/Goal Achieving series has been helpful. Let us know below what goals you are working to achieve!

Think, Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Goal Setting Activities

These goal setting activities can expand your horizons and clarify your personal goal setting.  Participate in these goal setting activities to reach new levels of success and happiness.

The foundation of personal goal setting success is having a clear vision of what you want out of life and taking purposeful steps to achieve your vision. Personal goal setting creates a bridge between today’s vision and tomorrow’s reality. An important part of your vision is bound in the personal values that you hold.

These goal setting activities focus on your personal values and what is important to you.


If your personal values do not match up with your long-term goals, then your long-term goals are less meaningful for you.

In the lingo of goal setting theory, you lack commitment.

Tapping into your commitment is the "white gold" of motivation.With commitment and the right goal setting plan you achieve more than you dreamed of.

Here I provide goal setting activities that help to clarify your vision and the values that are important to you. These activities also give you the tools to take the purposeful steps to achieve your vision.

Goal setting activity #1: Your retirement dinner 

Imagine it is your retirement dinner.

It is an unusual retirement dinner at which your family, friends, and colleagues stand up and describe the type of person that you are for them.

How would you like to be remembered?

What do you want your children and friends to say about you?

How would you like to be described by your colleagues?

By creating a vision of what you would like to be in the future, in different areas of your life, you often reflect the personal values that are most important to you in each of these different areas.

Write down on a sheet of paper what you would like each person to say about the different areas of your life.

At the same time, think about what is important to you and the type of person that you would like to be.

Form a goal setting worksheet and identify those areas of your life that are most important to you. This can help you to clarify priorities for future goal setting strategies.

Goal setting activity #2: Emulate someone you admire

If you have trouble visualizing your retirement dinner in goal setting activity #1, then imagine somebody that you admire and respect.

What qualities do they have that you admire?

Often the characteristics that you admire in another can say a lot about the type of person that you would like to be.

Take a blank piece of paper and write down the qualities of this person in each life domain: career, finance, family, personal relationships, community citizenship and any others that you can think of.

Write a paragraph on the type of person that you would like to be in each area of your life. Practice 'no limit' thinking.

Don't limit yourself by your fears, lack of money, or a lack of time - clarify a vision of your ideal self.

Goal setting activity #3: Develop goal setting plans for each area of your life

In the above goal setting activities you have provided an ideal vision of the different areas of your life, spanning career, family, and social and personal life.

It is helpful when you are trying to create a vision of the type of person that you want to be to consider your life from these different aspects.

The following goal setting activity makes these personal visions of yourself more concrete.

Family goal setting. Do you want to spend more quality time with your family? What sort of parent or partner do you want to be?

Education goal setting. Do you want to learn something new or become an expert in a particular area? What new skills do you want to acquire?

Fitness goal setting. Do you want to lose weight or become fitter? Perhaps you want to improve your game or remain motivated to keep training. Do you want to remain healthy as you get older? What steps do you need to take?

Setting financial goals. What sort of money do you want to earn? Do you want to achieve financial freedom? If so, then how?

Setting personal goals. Do you want to maintain a positive mindset? Are there behaviors that you want to improve? Do you want to have more pleasure and happiness in your life?

Career goal setting. Where do you want to be in your career? What type of job do you want to work in? What skills do you want to learn for your job?

Goal activity #4: Practice setting SMART goals

In the above goal setting activities you have clarified your personal vision. You then made these abstract goals more concrete by developing goal setting strategies in goal setting activity #3.

In this goal setting activity you are going to try to develop SMART goals.

SMART goals are a proven method of maximizing goal setting success.

Pick one of your goals. Whether you choose a career goal, a fitness goal or a personal goal, try to identify how you can make your goal SMART.

SMART goals take your goal setting to the next level. Setting SMART goals show that you have goal setting skills that set you apart from others.

SMART goals are an acronym for setting Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic and Time-bound goals - and they can dramatically increase your chances of achieving goals.

Goal activity #5: Prioritize your goals

Enthusiasm for goal setting is great - but sometimes enthusiasm needs to be focused into what is important for you.


A by-product of enthusiasm can mean that you set too many goals. 
This can spread you too thin and result in not achieving any of your important goals!

Perhaps you want to

  • achieve financial success,
  • spend more time with your family?
  • achieve greater fitness, or
  • get that dream job.

While these are great things to aim for, too many goals can be a distraction and take your focus away on what is important to you.

These goal setting activities can help you to prioritize your goals according to what is important to you.

Alternatively, obtaining goal setting forms can help you clarify what is important and worth paying the price for in terms of your time and energy.

Join me as we continue this series with:  Goal Setting Tips: How to Avoid Making  the More Common Errors in Goal Setting.

What Goal Setting Activities Have Worked for You?

Do you have a great goal
 setting activity? Share it!
Think, Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SMART Goals - What Are They and How Do I Set Them

SMART goals are a sure way to achieve goal setting success. S.M.A.R.T goals is an acronym for how to set goals.

By writing down goals and making them SMART goals you develop a critical skill for success.

Every year, millions of people set goals as they make their New Year's resolutions with the best of intentions...only to make the same resolutions the following year!

Why do so many people set goals with the best of intentions only to fall short in the achievement of them?

In my work with individuals, couples, business professionals, and students in goal setting almost all of them set goals.

I often ask them to evaluate them to see if they are 'SMART goals'.

"Huh...what are SMART goals?" they ask with a puzzled look on their face.

SMART goals is an acronym for goal setting success!

Now there are many variations of the acronym but I find that this one works:

     Action based

I find with my clients in setting goals there are two main reasons why they haven't succeeded in their goal setting success...and neither of them is a lack of motivation or commitment!

It is frustrating to be so committed and not achieve what you want to do, just because some common goal setting errors have been made. Avoid these errors at all costs.

Two Common Goal Setting Errors

1. Are your goals vague?

"I want to get better at sport","I want to be rich", or "I want to be successful" are vague goals.
Goal setting theory and research stresses the importance of setting specific goals.

2. Do you 'set and forget' goals. 

Goal setting involves reviewing and updating your goal target. Goal setting strategies ensure that you constantly review and adjust your goals.

Setting SMART goals

Setting SMART goals creates a bridge between today's dream and tomorrow's reality. S.M.A.R.T goals is an acronym for goals that are:

Specific - You maximize your chances of goal setting success if you set specific goals that focus your attention and energy on what you need to do to achieve your goals.

For example, "I want to lose weight and become fitter" is too vague and could be more specific by stating "I will lose 6 pounds and run 3 times a week for 20 minutes each time."

Measurable - If you can't measure your goal how will you know that you have reached it?

A goal that you can measure establishes concrete criteria that allow you to measure your progress.
Having measurable goals is important as it gives you benchmarks which, when reached, give you the satisfaction of achievement. This is a great boost to your confidence and spurs you on to greater effort.

For example, rather than setting goals such as "I will exercise today" or "I will read my notes tomorrow," set more measurable goals such as "I will walk 5 miles today" or "I will read chapters 1 and 2 tomorrow." 

Action steps - Having clear action steps to achieve your goals is critical to goal setting success. You must ask yourself the following questions:

"How am I going to reach my goals?"

"What steps do I need to take and what resources do I need to achieve my goals?"

For example, suppose you want to lose 5 pounds in six months. How are you going to achieve this specific and measurable goal?

Are you going cut out your mid-morning snack?

What about getting up earlier to exercise or walking 2 miles at lunch time?

Both are actions that support your goal!

Goals are an active process!

Realistic - Setting realistic goals does not mean the goals are easy but you do need to challenge yourself so that you focus to achieve your goals.

For example, I love chocolate! I know that I can't do (will not do!) without my chocolate, so setting a goal to not have chocolate for the rest of my life is clearly unrealistic.

However, a more realistic goal is to reduce the amount of chocolate I have to once a week.

When the going gets tough look into motivational posters and goal setting quotes to sustain your motivation for the achievement of your goals.

Time-based - When you set a deadline to achieve your goals you create a sense of urgency to take action today!

Whether your time frame is today, tomorrow or in 5 years time, setting a time to achieve makes your S.M.A.R.T goals a priority.

SMART Goals are GREAT, but SMARTer Goals are Better! have set SMART goals that maximize your chances of goal setting success. This puts you on the top rung of the goal setting ladder.

Just by doing this you already have great skills for setting and achieving goals.

But there are two questions you can ask of your SMART goals.

Are you setting goals that are:

Energizing - Are your SMART goals energetic, exciting and ethical?

Your goals need to reflect your values and you must be passionate about achieving them.
By having goals that are energizing and exciting, you are motivated to keep going to achieve your goals.

Reviewed and Resourced - With the best of intentions, millions of people set goals each New Year, only to realize that they are setting the same goals as last year.

This is because many people set and forget goals, and as a result never achieve what they were aiming for.
Setting goals is an active process and reviewing progress and adjusting your goals is important for goal success.

Things happen that require you to adjust your goals as the need arises. This is why it is important to review your goals.

Having the resources to achieve your goal is important also. If you are not prepared to put in the time and effort to make a change then it is unlikely that you will make the sacrifices to achieve your goals.

SMART goals that you are passionate about and reviewed on a regular basis become SMARTer goals.

SMART or SMARTer goals an important part of your goal setting toolkit. They provide the framework to maximize the chances of making today's dreams into tomorrow's reality.

Join me as we continue this series with: Goal Setting Activities

Think, Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 to determine if coaching is right for you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Time Management: Setting Priorities & Goals Part I

Are you familiar with the "Pareto Principle"? The Pareto principle is based on the idea that 20% of your tasks yield 80% of your results. By prioritizing with the 80 20 principle you develop time management skills that boost your effectiveness.

Do you live in a world in which your priorities are changing every hour?

Your boss tells you to drop everything - but you know they are going to come back and ask what happened with the project you were told to drop!

On top of this there is information overload, hundreds of emails, mergers and acquisitions.

This paints a picture of a constantly changing landscape!

It is important to navigate your way in this changing landscape.

To do this you must have a priority system which validates incoming tasks against your obligations.

In my experience there is no one "best" way! But you can build your priority system on three things:

  1. Know what your key result areas or goals are
  2. Use the Pareto principle or other techniques to prioritize your tasks
  3. Write down a plan or time management schedule to ensure that you get your high impact activities done.
By having these time management tools you put into place a priority system that ensures you get the most important things done.

Know and respect the Pareto principle

Named after an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, the Pareto principle or the 80 20 principle means that irrespective of what you choose, 20% are vital and 80% are trivial.

For example, look at your to do list - if you have 10 tasks on there then two of those tasks will yield 80% of your results.

Alternatively, 80% of income is owned by 20% of people - it works both ways!

The Pareto principle holds across business, academia, politics, and a number of other areas.

The foundation of this time management skill is that:

20% of tasks yield 80% of results.

Graphically, the Pareto principle looks like this:
fear of failure
So your top priorities are those that enable you to achieve 80% of results.

By concentrating on your top priorities you boost your time management skills and get important things done.

But how do you know what your top priorities are?

Your top priorities are those that are aligned with your performance criteria, key result areas, or goals.

How To Set "SMART" Goals

Clarity of goals means that you are able to rate today's priorities more clearly.

Clear goals provide a filtering mechanism by which to assess incoming tasks that are competing for your time.

In later articles I will provide practical steps on how to set goals for your work or personal life.

Setting goals allows you to determine your priorities.

Do you have performance criteria that you need to meet for your job?

What are your job specifications?

Do you have key result areas?

While setting personal goals or doing career goal setting may make you feel uneasy - especially after January's resolutions had thawed by February - setting goals is critical to determine your priorities!

Priority tasks are those that move you toward your goals, key result areas or objectives. These tasks enable you to achieve your goals and objectives.

Join me as we continue this series with: SMART Goals - What Are They and How Do I Set Them

Think, Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

7 Ways To Build Trust In a Relationship!

Do you know these 7 concrete ways to build trust in a relationship?  Often, what really makes a relationship work are not the things we think of first.  For instance, do you think you always need to spice things up?  Wrong!  Predictability is more important than variety in a relationship.  The following seven methods are guaranteed to grow your connection by improving the level of trust in a relationship.

1.  As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, you need to be predictable.  This goes against the common notion that you need to “stir things up” to keep the romance alive.  Sure, going to a new restaurant or giving a surprise gift can be nice, but most of all, we need things to be consistent and steady in order to make our relationships work.  Consider that trust in a relationship is built on being reliable day in and day out.

2.  You need to make sure that your words always match the message.  This means that your partner needs to hear the words which match your body language.  If you say you are happy but you are frowning, your partner doesn’t hear your words, he or she sees your face and the tone in your voice. Your parter needs to be able to trust what you are saying.  When the words match the message, you build trust in a relationship.

3.  You need to have a fundamental belief in your partner’s competency.  If you don’t you won’t have the trust in a relationship that you need.  When lovingly communicated, the truth is never destructive.  When you do not believe that your partner is competent at some things (or indeed, anything), you violate the trust in a relationship.

4. Don’t keep secrets.  There is a difference between secrets and privacy. Secrets destroy the trust in a relationship.  Be honest and open.  Assume everything you know will eventually come out.  Secrets require enormous energy on your part.  That is energy that could be going into building the relationship

5.  Don’t be afraid to let your partner know what your needs are.  Don’ t make him or her guess what you need.  Let them know.  It is okay to be self-centered as long as you are not selfish.  Indeed, if you are 
reluctant to assert your needs, you may go overboard in the opposite direction and smother your partner.

6. Learn to say no.  When your partner voices his or her needs, that is a good thing.  But you don’t need to say yes to everything.  A partner cannot respect you if you never say no.  Refusing to be subjugated to the other person’s will actually builds trust in a relationship.

Always pursue growth.  When you plant a flower, you begin by digging in the dirt.  Digging in the dirt of our relationships can sometimes cause pain.  But, through that pain, we prepare the soil for future growth.  Don’t be afraid of turmoil, crisis, or questions.  These become the fertilizer for growth and change.  Embrace what is difficult.

When you decide to work on trust in a relationship, you are bound to encounter a little pain.  But, as you work through this pain, you will not only become stronger as an individual, you will also strengthen your "coupledom."

Think, Grow. Live!
Roland N. Gilbert
Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How Pain and Pleasure Affect Your Decisions! Part III

We would all like to think that we make up our own minds as to what is pleasurable and what is painful. In reality we are constantly being conditioned by our environment to link certain things with pain or pleasure.

Can you think of any environmental influences that are conditioning your feelings about what is pleasurable and what is painful? Learning to recognize these influences is an important step toward seizing control of your personal pleasure and pain reality.

5 sources of external pain and pleasure programming

1. Advertisers. The entire advertising industry is based on the idea that they can influence our internal references to pain and pleasure. As a whole this industry spends billions of dollars each year to study human behavior. They do this because their goal is to link their products to our emotions. Their advertising campaigns are specifically designed to create subconscious emotional associations (anchors) in us without our being aware of it.

2. Friends and associates. The attitude of our close friends and associates also has a powerful influence on our personal pleasure and pain paradigms. Their opinions can actually precondition us to view things the way that they do. We may value someone else’s opinion so much that we subconsciously adopt their viewpoint without any personal experience.

3. Experts. So called experts carry incredible weight when it comes to overriding our opinions about a wide variety of things. By positioning themselves as the voice of authority, it psychologically downgrades the validity of our own thoughts and feelings. This positioning is designed so that we will adopt the attitude of “they’re the expert, so who am I to question them.” Is it any wonder that advertisers like pharmaceutical companies love this approach?

4. Groups. Trying to gain the approval of, or fit in with, a group can also shape and reshape our preferences. In such cases acceptance often hinges on our ability to conform to the group opinion. It’s the old majority rules mentality that has been ingrained in us since childhood. It is hard to avoid slipping into the thought pattern of “If all these people agree then they must be right, so I better get onboard or I’ll look like a fool.” Conformity can cause otherwise rational people to abandon their standards and go with the crowd. Pushed to the extreme it becomes mob mentality.

5. Stereotypes. Forming stereotypes is one of the tools our mind uses so we don’t need to continually reconsider the same thing over and over again. Our minds tend to group similar experiences into general categories. If we encounter a new experience that seems to fit into one of these categories it saves us the time and energy involved in evaluation. So, if something fits into a category that has always resulted in pain, we will naturally assume that this similar something will cause pain as well.

For example, if every time you try to go on vacation you wind up having car trouble, in the future you will probably expect more of the same. The very thought of vacation may conjure up an image of being stuck on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck. As a result, an activity designed to bring you pleasure now represents pain.

Take control of this process

The important point to remember here is that we need to develop the ability to decide for ourselves what we will view as pleasurable and what we will view as painful. If we don’t take control of this process, then the world around us will take over our internal programming.

If we allow that to happen, then instead of controlling our environment, we will end up being controlled by it. Because the pain and pleasure dynamic has such a powerful influence on our lives, we owe it to ourselves to take personal responsibility for how we choose to view things.

Your answers create your reality!

Whenever something happens in your life, your brain will ask two questions.

 First, “Is this going to bring me pain or pleasure?”

 Second, “What must I do now to avoid the pain and/or gain the pleasure?”

How you choose to interpret the situation will determine your answers. But more than that, it will also form the foundation for your future expectations. If you want less pain and more pleasure in your life, this is a good place to start.

How strong are these external influences in your life?

Can you see the value of choosing you own reality?

This is part 3 in a 3 part series of articles dealing with pain and pleasure paradigms. For the rest of the story, check out…

Think. Grow. Live!
Roland N. Gilbert
Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.