3 Subtle Ways We Get Stuck In Relationships

I am taking a break from writing for a few days to evaluate the second half of 2012 and for a speaking engagement in Southern California. While I’m away, I’m re-posting some of my most popular posts from the last year. I hope you enjoy reading or re-reading these posts. I’ll be back and better than ever on July 16, 2012!

Think about all of the people you encounter on a daily basis. Each of those encounters has the potential to move you closer to the person (intimacy) or farther away from the person (estrangement). At times it may appear that an encounter has no effect, but I’m not so sure that’s true.

Relationships aren’t static. They’re always moving, fluctuating, and changing.

For this post, I want to illustrate each encounter as a loop on a path, much like you would see on a roller coaster. If you’re moving down the track and encounter a loop, it requires momentum and energy to climb the loop.

Yet the loop also creates momentum and energy as you start back down the other side. If you have enough momentum to climb the loop, you can make it all the way around and continue on the track with sustained momentum. But if something happens along the way and you fail to navigate the loop properly, the loop becomes a barrier to successfully moving forward.

Let’s call this “getting stuck.”

Better Illustrations = Better Communicator

I wanted to call this post: Illumination Through Illustration. There is a powerful connection that takes place between speaker and audience when one can share the right illustration, at the right time, and for the right reason.

The right illustration adds value and meaning to your message. The wrong illustration will detract and distract from what you’re trying to say.
The right time allows the audience to connect with your illustration at both the heart and head level. Tell the right story at the wrong time and people are left scratching their heads.
The right reason affirms message you are trying to convey. It might be a great story, but if that’s the only reason you’re telling it, you’ll send a lot of mixed messages.

The type of illustrations I’m talking about are the anecdotal stories that come alongside and help to support the point you are trying to make. I have found a well-placed illustration helps an audience see your message in action. It is a picture of what your point looks like in real life. It helps  people connect what you’re saying to their own lives.

If you want to illuminate your audience through the power of illustration, I encourage you to practice these seven tactics of illustration wisdom:

In Harbaugh We Trust!

The eight year drought is over.

The San Francisco 49ers, under the direction of new head coach, Jim Harbaugh, ended the season 13-3, NFC West Division winners, and 2nd in the NFC overall. They’ll enjoy a one week bye before stepping into the NFL Playoffs.

As a fan for many years I want to congratulate the San Francisco 49ers. I hope they continue to “shake their opponents’ hands a little too hard” in the playoffs.

My Annual Resolution Rant

There’s a virus that goes around this time of year. I call it the “New Year’s Neurosis.”

It shows itself primarily through one bold and audacious symptom: resolutions.

I’ve been susceptible to the virus in the past. I caught the bug. I started to see signs of it as I opened my last Christmas present, it was a hollow feeling that I needed something more to fill the void in my life. It seemed to flare up during those moments of quiet, calm, and stillness. I noticed it gnawing in the back of my mind – a little voice that kept whispering about how I needed to make a change, how I needed to create a new habit, or how I needed to get healthy.

The most telltale sign that this sickness had taken over is closely tied to its name: I believed everything could and would be different on January 1, New Year’s Day.

P90X…2!

I started P90X2 yesterday.

If you’ve followed my site for any length of time, you probably read about my experience with P90X (the first one). If not, you can read about it here: I Completed P90X.

To sum up my first experience: it was life-changing.

Tony Horton and the gang at BeachBody.com have just released P90X2. It arrived on my doorstep about 10 days ago. Here’s some of my thoughts and plans as I embark on this journey…

13 Ways I Get In My Own Way

I’ve noticed a trend lately. You, the beloved readers of this site, tend to respond more positively to the posts that highlight my weaknesses.

Thanks for the encouragement…I think.

With that in mind, I thought I’d once again dig down deep into the archives of my personal experience. I want to share some of the ways (there’s probably a lot more) that I have missed the mark for no other reason than…me. I was rolling along nicely – growing and learning. Then suddenly I ran into a wall of my own making.

The good news is I’ve learned something from each of these self-inflicted actions. Sometimes you need to get out of your own way so you can move forward. Perhaps you’ll see yourself in one or two of these…

1. I don’t do anything. I hope there will be some cosmic force that causes things to work out on their own.

When Doing Is Derailed By Distractions

What are you doing?

Not right now. I know what you’re doing right now.

The reason I ask is because I was reminded again today about all of the things I do that keep me from doing what needs to be done.

I organize.
I surf the web.
I tweet and retweet.
I check Facebook.
I look at my email.
I re-organize.
I write lists.
I read blogs :)
I play Words With Friends.
I check in again at Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and Email.

And at the end of the day – that moment when I lay my head on my pillow (placing my cell phone on the nightstand where I can do most of those things above one more time) – the question comes back around: What are you doing?

Only Boring People Are Bored

Has anyone ever said this to you?

“Only boring people are bored.”

This is one of those classic pieces of parental wisdom that I received from time to time growing up.

It usually came on the heels of me pacing around the house, staring into the refrigerator countless times, and exhaling a deep sigh with the words: “I’m bored.”

The corrective response was meant to awaken some inner motivation within me. While I believed it was okay to be bored, I didn’t want to be known as a boring person. Thus, I was encouraged to find something useful to do with my time.

Growing up, boredom was an unacceptable posture towards life.

When it comes to leadership, creativity, and influence, the opposite might be true as well: only bored people are boring.

Think about the speech you weren’t very excited to deliver.
Think about the paper you submitted  that rambled on to meet the word count.
Think about the project you were required to accomplish but your heart wasn’t in it.

What effect did it have on other people? What kind of impression did it make?

In most situations, boredom begets boredom. It’s contagious.

Sometimes I’ve gotten excited about a topic simply because the speaker, the writer, the teacher, or the leader was passionately excited about it.