Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The four most dangerous words.

Four dangerous words that cause chaos in relationships – are you guilty?

Tim Connor

The average person has a vocabulary of around 1200 words but unfortunately four of them when shared with others, can have a short term and/or lasting negative impact on relationships.  What are they?

You – should ______!

You – Need to _____!

I will -  Never ______!

I will – Always ______!

So why are these relationship busters?

You – should;

This was one of my least favorite words to hear from friends, parents, former bosses, a former spouse etc. is - you should. Is it me or do you have an issue with this command as well?  Why do I call it a command?  Well, that’s what it is when someone says you should – lose weight, work harder, start or stop something, drive faster or slower – folks I could go on with this stuff for pages so let me ask you – what’s your least favorite – you should statement to hear from anyone?

Why do some people feel they can have control over us, boss us around, intimidate us or just tell us what to do or not do on a whim? There are many reasons but here are just a few of the common ones.

They think they are; smarter than us, are better than us, more experienced than us, know better than we do, always right, they are control freaks.  They are insecure but unwilling to admit it. Got any you want to add?

You – Need to;

You need to is a very close cousin to - you should - the only difference is that it implies that it is our responsibility to do – whatever – whether we feel or believe it is our responsibility.  The other person’s view is that they shouldn’t have to keep reminding is that we need to, we just need to put it into our DNA as a permanent part of who we are according to their rules or expectations. Again, I could go on for pages about what other’s think we need to do – for them, with them, at them etc.  In the end, I am not responsible for you – your opinions, views, prejudices, beliefs, actions, attitudes etc.  These are yours not mine.  Regardless of how right or wrong they may be, you think they are or are different from mine in the end, I was not put on this earth for your approval.  I was not put here as your servant.  If I want to do something – anything – wash your car, take out the garbage, get a report done by the end of the day, call you or email you back - I’ll do it because I want to not because one of your stupid rules applies to me.  Get it – you are not in charge of me – I am.  And I am not in charge of you – you are.

I will -  never;

Ever heard It?  I will never do that or say that again.  I will never ____ - whatever!  Ever said it? I know I have and when I realized that I had, I knew that one day I would regret saying it.  What does “I will never” mean and should we take other’s seriously when they say it?  Should other’s take us seriously?  I don’t know about you - but words do matter but unfortunately many people either take them far too seriously or not at all seriously. Never means – never like – really never and can anyone ever really say this with certainty or a guarantee that they will never break the “I will never” code?  I doubt it.  So why do people say it? To manipulate?  To control? To look good in the eyes of others?  Yes, Yes and yes and yes to any other reason you can come up with.  The word is a sham in my opinion and should be eliminated from the dictionary.

I will – always;

I could just repeat all of the above paragraph and make life easier for both of us but let me add just a couple of items so I at least come across as a little professional.  Always - at all times; on all occasions, every time, each time, at all times, all the time, without fail, consistently, invariably, regularly, habitually, unfailingly.  Had enough?  I know I have. Who can possibly say this knowing that we have little or no control over the future? Again, the word is a sham in my opinion and should be eliminated from the dictionary.

Guilty of using any of the above?  Have someone in your life or career who uses any of them on you?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Closeness vs. distance

Closeness vs. Distance
Tim Connor

You can be a million miles apart emotionally while in the same bed and as close as the next heartbeat even though you are separated by miles or time.  Have you ever had the experience of feeling really separated or far apart from your partner even though you were within touching distance?  Have you ever felt close to someone that you see infrequently or don’t really know that well? 

How can you explain this paradox?  I have had both experiences in my life on more than one occasion and I have tried to determine the root of this closeness and distance paradox.  I don't have a definitive answer, but I think I am getting closer to the core of the issue.

There are several types of closeness or distance.  There is: physical, emotional, financial, sexual, spiritual, and psychological.  I have felt really close emotionally to someone yet a million miles apart physically.  I have felt a great valley of distance between someone spiritually yet a closeness in other areas.  How about you – had the same experiences? If you are in a relationship and do not feel close to your significant other or partner in any of the above ways I suggest you consider the value of this relationship on your path through the rest of your life and how to change this or what it demonstrates in the overall picture of your relationship needs or agendas.

The real problem here is when we are close in some ways and distant in others.  For example, if you have a greater need for more affection, emotional closeness or romance and your significant other has a greater need for better financial security and no need for the romance or emotional closeness, you will never bridge this gap focusing on a totally unrelated common area in your relationship or pretending it doesn’t exist or doesn’t really matter. You will tend to bring the unresolved resentments, baggage, expectations, guilt etc. into the other areas of your relationship contributing to greater distance and more dysfunction.  You may not do this consciously, but you will certainly do it unconsciously.

I am just asking you to spend some time considering where you are close and far apart in a current relationship and its impact on the overall relationship and each o your relationship needs and expectations.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Five management basics.

Five management basics –

ignore them to your peril.

Tim Connor

Yes, there are many more fundamental management, supervision and leadership traits but after working with hundreds of organizations worldwide I believe if you will follow these five you will be well on your way to being an exceptional manager and leader.

1)You get the behavior you reward.

2)You are responsible to people not for them.

3)You job is not to motivate employees but create a positive motivational culture.

4)Creating self-accountability.

Ok, here are a few details.

You get the behavior you reward. As a manager if an employee, department or group of employees are behaving contrary to expectations, rules or policies it is because you are either tolerating their behavior or contributing to it, so yes, if you have a problem stop pointing your finger and start looking in the mirror. People, everyone, acts in a way that is comfortable for them so if you continue to make poor behavior acceptable or even comfortable it will continue, increase and even spread.  Don’t believe me – why not look at behavior you are getting that is unacceptable and ask yourself – how long has this been going on?  Is it worse today than it was last year? Why is it continuing?

You are responsible to people not for them. If you have employee’s that are not performing up to standards, let me ask you – do you keep bailing them out because of their race, gender, history or some other reason?  Do you feel responsible for their success?  Do you sacrifice some of your own roles, duties, responsibilities in order to help them when what they are not doing is what they are getting paid to do?  As a speaker/trainer I am responsible to my client’s and audiences but if they choose to tune out emotionally, fail to pay attention, don’t use some of the material covered etc. – trust me I am not going to lose any sleep.  I did my best to share information and ideas that could be of value to them – it was their choice to not apply it or even listen to it.  In this article I am doing the same.  If you feel what I am covering is valuable but don’t do anything with it – well I made my point.

You job is not to motivate employees but create a positive

motivational culture.  As a manager or leader, you are not responsible for your employee’s motivation. Real motivation is an inside-out process not outside-in.  Unfortunately, however too many managers are still using the two primary motivators to create productivity – fear/punishment or reward/incentive.  Both are outside-in approaches and tend to work because a large percentage of the workforce are driven by outside-in tactics.  The problem is both are temporary and results are determined by the individual needs of a person.  In other words – if they are not concerned about the threats or fears – it won’t work.  If they are not interested in your rewards or incentives – again no results.  Real, lasting and passionate motivation comes from inside and the role of management is to create an environment where this can be nurtured and developed for the common good.

Creating self-accountability.  If you are a manager or leader that is responsible for multiple employees I will guarantee that if you could overhear all of their conversations, observe their behavior or witness some of their actions that before every day came to an end you would average one heart attack a day.  And why, because people do dumb things, have personal agendas, lack awareness or understanding, are poorly trained etc.  So what’s the answer?  Well for starters you can’t put body cameras on every employee or record every conversation but what you can do is create an atmosphere, culture, expectations and accountability of – self-accountability.  Can’t go into detail in this short article but suffice it to say that the employees that operate with this mindset or approach are better performers than those that do not have it.

Validating employees. One of the biggest weaknesses of most managers is that they give far too much negative feedback, discipline and invalidation and far too little recognition, appreciation and positive validation. After speaking in front of tens of thousands of people around the world during my career I have witnessed more than my share of watching people invalidate others with their comments, insults, poor behavior and disregard for the value of human life.  When you are late - you invalidate others.  When you don’t listen - you invalidate others.  When you interrupt someone - you invalidate them.  Get it – life is not just about you but your willingness and ability to value others regardless of their position, experience, knowledge etc.

Well, there you have it. What I believe are the five critical management concepts that when observed, used and integrated into your management style will ensure better employee performance, productivity and loyalty.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Time heals all things - It's a myth.

Time heals all things – It’s a myth.

Tim Connor

We’ve all heard it – time heals everything – nothing is further from the truth.  Don’t believe me – read on.

First of all - time can’t heal anything – it’s time not a healing process, medical professional or medication.  I know you probably think I’m starting off on the side of ridiculous. Well, just trying to get your attention.

If time can heal I wish it would heal faster – my recent hip surgery, heart bypass surgery, several years of business uncertainty, some of the negativity of a former spouse (hope she’s not reading this) and any number of life areas that continue to get in the way of some of my exciting opportunities.

OK, not complaining here so let me ask you – are you still waiting for time to heal some area of your life that you feel is taking too long?

Healing - literally meaning to make whole - is the process of the restoration of health from an unbalanced, diseased or damaged organism.  It is also referred to in the context of the grieving process. In psychiatry and psychology, healing is the process by which neuroses and psychoses are resolved to the degree that the client is able to lead a normal or fulfilling existence without being overwhelmed by psychopathological phenomena.

Had enough?

So, let me ask you - when most people say time heals all things in due time are they referring to the above stuff or something else?  I’ll bet – something else.

Time doesn’t heal a wound whether physical or mental – but what we do about what has happened during the passage of time is what heals it or does not heal it.  So, if you are grieving about anything it’s not the time involved but what you do or how you handle the events, circumstances or situations during the passage of time. And why – well, for starters let me ask you - do some people heal faster or slower to the same loss than others?  Do some people never heal from certain losses? The answer to both is – yes. So, again it’s not the time but what you do or don’t do during the time.  I know, I know, I’m being redundant but some people need to hear or read stuff (not you of course) more than once to “get it”.

So, what gets in the way of faster healing for some people?  Here are just a few reasons; the need for control, fear, impatience, future uncertainty, a victim mentality, poor self-esteem, cluttered mental perceptual filters, life imbalance and a lack of being in life reality.  All of these require more explanation but I’m trying to keep this article under 1000 words – so if you are someone who fails to heal well or quickly you might want to do some more reading.  I can give you lots of resources.

The source of healing in a person is a combination of them using their mind/thoughts and their spirit/soul to address, manage or overcome the challenges, issues, losses etc. that life brings sooner or later to each of us. Both are required in some way to handle both physical and emotional healing issues and or life trials.  It has been my experience over the years that people who I have known who can’t control their thoughts and have weak spiritual values tend not to heal well or in a timely fashion.

What can contribute to a more effective healing process is any combination of the following actions, behaviors, approaches or attitudes.

-Show appreciation more often for everything in life even if you don’t think it or them deserve it.

-Pray, meditate and spend routine time in silence.

-Live life with greater gratitude. When you lose something - focus on what you still have rather than what you have lost.

-Strengthen your spiritual life – in ways that help you understand and accept life’s trials, disappointments and losses.

-Read appropriate Scripture.

-Develop a support system that builds you up and doesn’t just cry with you and keep you stuck in your loss or issues.

-Learn to accept that all of life’s challenges whether you agree with me or not, are opportunities for personal, career or life growth.

I could go on for pages with suggestions but I’ll leave you with just one more – Life is not picking on you when it drops a bomb into your life – it is not singling you out because you need to “get it” now – no – life happens to all of us and the key to happiness, inner peace and a life of joy is not what we are dealing with – perceived as good or bad – but what it teaches, us, how it molds us and how it helps us live a better life for those around us.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

You will be happy when_______?

You’ll be happy when____

Tim Connor

Let me finish the above sentence for you;

You will be happy when you; retire, start a new career or job, own your home, are in a different relationship, out of debt, lose 20 pounds, get a promotion, the kids are grown, successful . . . I could go on but I’m sure you get where I’m going with this.  Being happy is not about what you get, are doing or your circumstances but who you are.  Let me explain.

If you asked 95% of the world’s population what was the one thing they wanted in life more than anything else they would tell you - happiness. They would also define happiness as something outside of themselves – a better home, job, more money, security, better relationships etc. Sorry – these are all nice to have but they won’t make you happy.  Secure – yes. Fame – yes. Power – Yes. Wealth – yes. But happy – not likely.

There has been a tremendous amount of worldwide research done over the years – the happiest country, the happiest city, the happiest gender, the happiest race, the happiest station in life, the happiest career etc.  All of these come up with the same results – it’s not what you have, where you live, who you are with or what you do that makes you happy, but what you believe, how you think, what you feel and who you are.  Happiness is inside-out not outside-in.

I’m not suggesting that wanting; more, better or sooner or easier is wrong or not even not in your best interests, but I am saying that if you are not happy with what you have or where you are, it’s unlikely that you will be happier when or if you get what you want.  It’s an endless cycle.  Have . . . want more . . . get more . . . have more . . . want more . . . get more - see the problem here?  If your happiness is based on what you want once you get it I’m sure you’ll eventually tire of what you have and want more again.  Tying your happiness to this ritual is a recipe for continued frustration and disappointment that does not lead to ultimate happiness – real happiness, but just circumstance happiness or stuff happiness.

I’m sure I’ve lost a few of you at this point as you strongly disagree with me and that’s ok, I’m just a messenger here.  So, think about it – when are you the happiest (not secure, in control, who you are with, wealthy etc.)?  I’ll bet if you are honest with yourself that you will have a hard time coming up with an answer and why?  We are used to relating happiness to external stuff and not internally.  We have been mentally conditioned over the years to believe that something outside of us has to be different, better or change for us to find true happiness.

If you are happy as you are reading this ask yourself – is it because of what’s going on in your life – it’s all good – or because it’s just who you are?  We all have moments of happiness, bliss and joy but these are often fleeting as we find it hard to be happy during chaos, uncertainty, aloneness, disappointment, challenges or any other life tribulation.  Welcome to the “I will be happy when_____ club.”

So, what’s the answer to finding real happiness?  Is it settling, giving up or giving in, surrendering or some other emotional state of mind?  Is it letting go of plans, goals, desires and needs?  Or, is it some other approach or mindset?

In my book, The Road to Happiness is full of Potholes, I share a simple concept and that is – you will never find true happiness if you attach its achievement to something external.  True life happiness is a decision, a belief and an attitude and none of these are dependent on whether you are having or good or bad day, things are going well or life is falling apart, you won the lottery or you just filed bankruptcy, got married or divorced, you got fired or started a new job, got a clean bill of health or were just told you have a serious illness.

There yet?  Want to be there?  Not sure how to get there? Then begin the inside-out work and stop focusing on the outside-in stuff.  Just take one step at a time. Start; reading more, praying more, spending more time in contemplation and introspection, staying in the present moment more, letting go of guilt, anger, blame and resentment or any other negative emotions. Simple but not easy – I know.

Let me close with my definition of happiness – It’s not where you are, what you have, what you are doing or who you are with but who you bring to these circumstances, conditions, events or people. Let me close with my favorite quote -


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do.  So, throw off the bowlines.    Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore - Dream - Discover –

while you still can.”

Mark Twain