Opportunity Dances With Those Who Are Already on the Dance Floor

Opportunity Dances With Those Who Are Already on the Dance Floor

 

How many of you look at successful people and wish that you could be as lucky as them? Be honest…we’ve all done it. We’ve all looked at somebody that has what we want and thought “ya I could have ____ too if I had the same opportunities they did.” Maybe they have connections you don’t, money you don’t, family help you didn’t have, good genetics, education…the list goes on.

 

The reality is that in most of these cases, the person you envy isn’t there by sheer luck. They put themselves on the dance floor time and time again. They failed and they got up and they tried again. They too felt discouraged at times but rather than giving up and whining about it, they did something about it. So when their “big break” finally came, they were in a position to act on it.

 

At the end of the day, we all have the same 24 hours with which to make something of ourselves.

 

Don’t compare your chapter 1 to somebody else’s finished book.

 

You never know what hardships someone endured to get where they are but if they are successful, I guarantee you they endured many.

 

So get out there, start dancing, and when you fall, pick yourself back up again because that perfect song is about to come on just for you.

 

Need help getting and staying motivated? Contact me. I’m here to help!

Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus: Are We Really That Different?

Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus: Are We Really That Different?

Yes, we are! If you and your significant other have been fighting like crazy, these classic gender differences might be the reason for your squabbles. In my experience working with couples, I have found that there are 3 gender differences that come up most consistently in therapy across couples of all ages and races. Often, couples don’t realize their issues are a result of gender differences and they think they are the only couple in the world dealing with this particular issue. Or worse, they think their partner is uniquely insensitive and flawed when in reality, he or she is just built differently. Being aware of these key gender differences will help you recognize your partner’s behaviors as a gender specific way of showing love rather than flaws that need to be changed. Read this article with the intention of gaining a new level of understanding and appreciation for your partner and see how your relationship shifts as a result.

 

Before we launch right in, it’s important to note that while most men and most women display the tendencies discussed below, not everyone falls into these generalizations. There may be some women that resonate more with the men’s side of things and vice versa. I encourage you to take what works for you from this article and leave what doesn’t. Every person and every relationship is different and while many problems are similar across couples, there are always slight variations.

 

Difference #1: Men are fixers, women are feelers

 

Sally comes home from work after a long irritating day at the office, collapses into a pile on the couch and sighs deeply, glad to be home. Sensing that she is upset, her husband John asks, “honey, what’s wrong?”

 

Sally launches into a story wrought with emotion about how her jerk boss yelled at her today in front of the whole office for something she didn’t even do. Sally went on to say, “I was so angry and embarrassed and felt so powerless to do anything about it!”

 

John, appalled and upset at hearing how his wife was treated said “did you report him to HR yet? We’ve talked about this before and they need to know how inappropriate he is when he’s upset.”

 

Sally responds, “no, I’m worried I’ll lose my job if I report him and you know we can’t afford that right now.”

 

John says “well then it’s time you look for a new job. I am sick of hearing stories like this. It’s not ok for you to be treated like that at work!”

 

Sally looks at John with growing frustration and says “It’s not always that bad and the pay is great. Plus, we can’t afford to change my benefits or lose maternity leave with the baby on the way. I’m not going to leave my job right now and you know that.”

 

John, now equally frustrated, says “well if you’re not going to do anything about the situation, I don’t know why you keep bringing it up!”

 

Hurt and feeling misunderstood, Sally storms out of the room leaving John annoyed and wondering what he said or did to upset her.

 

Sound familiar? Almost every couple has had an argument like this more than once. Many couples think the issue they are discussing is what leaves them both frustrated but it goes deeper than that. This is a classic case of the fixer vs the feeler. John, being a man, wants to fix things. When Sally tells him a problem, he wants to solve it as soon as possible and stop talking about it. Sally, being a feeler, wants to talk about her feelings, not find a solution. She has already decided that the best choice for her and her family is to stay with her job for the time being. Thus, when something upsets her at work, she wants to be comforted by her man, held in his arms, and told that he understands what she is going through and he is sorry that happened to her. Women want empathy, not a solution.

 

When a man immediately jumps to problem solving, a woman gets frustrated because she feels like he is not listening to her or doesn’t care about how she feels. She feels rushed and like he is just trying to get the conversation over with as soon as possible so he can go back to doing what he was doing. Ultimately, she feels invalidated.

 

From a man’s perspective, upsetting and invalidating his woman is the last thing he is trying to do. Men want to protect and help the women they care about and fixing their problems is one way they do it. Men tend to be much more logical and simple in the emotional department. In a man’s mind, if there is a problem, it needs a solution. By offering a solution, he is trying to show that he cares. If he offers a solution, the next logical step in his mind is for his woman to try it. If she rejects good solution after good solution and continues to talk about her feelings, he is going to feel like she is rejecting his help and get frustrated. He can’t understand why she doesn’t want to make the problem go away so they can both go back to feeling happy again!

 

The solution:

Sometimes just keeping this difference in mind when you discuss problems together is enough. If a man starts to offer solutions and a woman realizes this is his way of trying to help, she might be willing to listen to his solution and maybe even try it since she knows it is coming from a place of love. If the man is offering a solution and she really just wants him to listen, she should let him know. Better yet, before she even begins the conversation, she can let her man know whether she wants to have a “feelings” conversation or a “fixing” conversation. If she just wants to vent, she can say something like “I had the worst day at work but before I tell you about it, I want you to know I am not looking for a solution. I just need to vent and be held.”

 

Men, if you’re not sure how to best support your woman in any given situation, just ask. Say something like “wow honey that sounds like an awful experience! I’m so sorry you went through that today. Are you looking for a solution or did you just want to vent?”

 

 

Difference #2: Men need space when women need attention

 

Times of stress are hard. Times of stress are even harder when you feel unsupported by your partner. Unfortunately, there are some innate differences about the way men and women deal with stress that can leave both feeling unsupported and misunderstood when they need each other most.

 

Men deal with stress by disconnecting and distancing themselves until they’ve had time to work through (and often solve) the issue whereas women deal with stress by talking about it, becoming more involved, and often becoming overwhelmed. Let’s see how this can play out in a real-life example.

 

Brian and Mary have been married for a year now and while they are very much in love, they have been feeling a bit distant from each other lately. Brian is under stress at work because he is going for a big promotion and taking on more responsibilities in an effort to impress his boss. Mary is dealing with her mother’s dementia and taking care of her several days per week. Brian comes home from work feeling drained and anxious wondering if he did well on the big presentation he gave in front of his boss today. Mary comes home from a long day of caring for her mother feeling sad that her mother is deteriorating and scared about losing the woman that means the most to her.

 

Mary remembers that Brian had his big presentation today and greets him at the door with a hug and a kiss and immediately asks him how it went.

 

Brian tells her “it went well I think” and then sits down on the couch and turns on the game.

 

Mary, trying to connect to her husband says “I saw my mother today. She barely remembered who I was when I walked in.”

 

Brian looks at her momentarily and says “oh honey, I’m so sorry” and goes back to watching the game.

 

Mary tries again, “so did your boss say anything after the presentation?”

 

Brian answers, “he said I did a good job but you know how he is. He’s so hard to read. Hey babe, I’m gonna catch the highlights of the game for a bit before dinner, ok?”

 

Hurt and feeling brushed off, Mary says “umm ok, I’ll guess I’ll go prepare dinner then.”

 

At first glance to most women, it may seem like Brian is being completely uncaring and insensitive. Mary is trying to connect with him and he is brushing her off to watch the game! However, another classic gender difference, not Brian’s insensitivity, is to blame. When men are stressed out, they need time to decompress before they can talk about it (IF they even want to talk about it at all.) Men’s natural instinct when stressed is to pull back, clear their mind doing something easy or mindless, and then tackle their problem and solve it.

 

Women have the exact opposite reaction to stress. Women want to talk about the problem (in detail) with loved ones and they won’t feel better until they’ve had the chance to do so. Women want to rehash everything that happened and how it made them feel. Once they’ve processed all the emotion around the event or issue, they will then be ready to solve the problem and/or move past it.

 

So, you might be asking, how are men and women both supposed to get their needs met in times of stress if they have completely different needs??

 

The Solution:

While men and women may have different needs in times of stress they can still both have their needs met eventually. Women might have to settle for waiting 30 more minutes before they get to discuss their feelings about their stressful day and men might have to decompress a little less than desired before interacting with their girlfriend/wife in order to make sure she doesn’t feel neglected. However, with a little compromise and a lot of understanding about the differences between men and women, couples can make this work.

 

A great action step for women is to ask your man how much time he needs to decompress after he gets home. If he doesn’t know, give him at least 20 minutes after he walks in the door to do his own thing then ask “is now a good time to talk? I want to tell you about my day.” If he is not ready yet, DON’T take it personally. It has nothing to do with you or how he feels about you. Another great option is to schedule errands, workout classes, or happy hour with girlfriends after work to give your man some time alone in the house before you get home. That way, he will have time to decompress and be ready to attend to you as soon as you walk in the door. Men, be clear with your woman about how much time you need to yourself after a long day and make sure when you are ready to talk, that you listen to your woman intently, empathize with her, and let her know how much you appreciate her love and support. Need help learning how to listen and empathize effectively? Click here to learn my favorite communication technique to use with couples, the Imago Dialogue.

 

 

Difference #3: Men need to do stuff while women need to talk about stuff

 

While there are many ways that both men and women express love, there are certain behaviors that tend to be more typically male expressions of love and others that tend to be more typically female expressions of love. In general, men feel closer and validated through shared activities. They want to do fun stuff with the woman they love like watch or play sports, outdoor activities like hiking or biking, and of course, sexual activities. Men enjoy sharing experiences that are decidedly active and physical. Women, on the other hand, feel closer and validated through communication, intimate sharing of feelings and experience, and emotional closeness. Many men tend to find such sharing and involvement uncomfortable, if not, overwhelming. While many women do enjoy physical activities and sex as much as men, they may not derive the same feeling of closeness from it if the experience doesn’t also involve sharing emotions.

 

Going out and doing fun things together is key to keeping your relationship fun and fresh, for both of you. Staying in and having intimate conversations over a candlelight dinner at home is key to growing and keeping emotional connection in your relationship. This gender difference can be more beneficial than harmful because it adds balance to the relationship as long as you are not always doing what one person wants to do and not the other.

 

The Solution:

Make a list of activities/date nights that you can share with your partner. Both partners should make their own list. The list should have at least 10-15 items on it and include items from all of the following categories:

 

  • Things you already do with your partner
  • Things you used to do with your partner but don’t anymore
  • Things you have never done with your partner but would like to

 

Choose 1 item per week from the list to do together. Rotate which list you choose from each week so that you both get to do activities that make you feel close to one another. These do not need to be extravagant, time consuming or elaborate date ideas (though some can be!) Some examples include:

  • make me dinner and dessert
  • sit and talk to me about your vision for the future
  • go hiking with me
  • go to a yoga class with me
  • watch the game with me
  • take me to a theme park
  • ask me about my day and listen actively for at least 20 minutes

 

It’s great if you choose some shorter activities to do in weeks when you are pressed for time and some longer activities to do when you have more time to spend with each other but make sure to do something together at least once per week that allows you to feel connected to one another. Need some date ideas?

Click Here to Download The 52 Best Date Ideas of All Time

So there you have it! Those are the 3 gender differences I see most in my private practice along with solutions to help you and your partner bridge the gap in communication. Keep these differences in mind as you interact with your partner, especially during times of stress. Once you are able to accept that some behaviors are just a result of the way you or your partner is built genetically, you’ll be more accepting and accommodating when problems do arise.

The Psychology Of Success

The Psychology Of Success

What does it take to be successful as an entrepreneur? Why are some people successful and others aren’t? How can someone who seemingly has all the odds stacked in their favor (intelligence, education, supportive family and friends, etc) still fail in business while someone who doesn’t have any of those advantages becomes a successful entrepreneur? Some may say it’s luck but as a psychologist and entrepreneur myself, I know better. The answer lies in the power of thought. Successful entrepreneurs are very selective about what thoughts they allow to take up real estate in their mind because they know their focus determines their reality. In this article I will review 7 must have mindsets of successful entrepreneurs and ways in which you can cultivate them in yourself.

 

  1. Get clear on your vision and dream BIG – All successful entrepreneurs started with a dream that they turned into a vision and eventually, a reality. Get crystal clear on what you want and put reminders of your goals in a place that you will see everyday. I recommend creating a vision board with pictures and words that represent things, experiences, and relationships you want to have, companies you want to create, places you want to travel, etc. Remember this is a representation of your dream come true so don’t settle for what seems possible or reasonable. You CAN have it all. Think bigger, dream BIGGER! I know it seems scary. You’re probably thinking “but what if I fail? What if I put myself out there and tell everyone my hopes and dreams and then I don’t accomplish them?” Instead of asking yourself “what if” ask yourself “so what if”. So what if you fail? What if you succeed and create the life of your dreams? Isn’t that worth at least giving a chance? I think it is.

 

  1. Believe in yourself – There will be times when you doubt yourself but there will be more times when others doubt you. The journey to success is full of nonbelievers, naysayers, and people who truly have your best interests at heart but are scared of the risks you are taking. Our natural tendency is to stay within our comfort zone and the natural tendency of our friends and family is to keep us within that comfort zone as well. If you’re sad, people try to make you feel better by saying “cheer up, don’t be sad. It will get better”. If you’re too happy, people are uncomfortable and may tell you to “calm down, be careful, don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket.” We are trained by those around us to stay inside our comfort zones. During the times of self doubt, find those that will lift you up and bolster your confidence. During the times when others doubt you, dig deep and find the place within you that KNOWS you are a champion. It will be uncomfortable to keep going against all odds but it will be worth it.

 

  1. Fail Forward – Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. The road to success as an entrepreneur is littered with failure. Fail forward, keep pushing, and don’t give up because things aren’t going as planned (because they almost never will). It could be years before you realize it, but everything in your life is happening for you not to. The people who become successful are the ones who don’t quit. Over time, you will learn from your failures and they will shape you into the person that you need to become to have and do the things that you want. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Here’s the thing…fear is always going to be there. Successful people learn to feel the fear and do it anyway. Your chance of failure is 100% if you don’t at least give it a shot. Move forward, take the next step and just focus on 1 small, manageable step at a time. Break your goal down into smaller mini goals that seem more achievable and work on those. Over time, you will find you have accomplished more than you ever dreamed possible by focusing on your next step rather than your huge goal. As Les Brown says “if you fall, fall on your back because if you can look up, you can get up.”

 

  1. Focus more on growing yourself than growing your business – The person that you are now is not the person that is going to create the life that you want 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now. Focus on personal growth and becoming the best version of you, work hard every day, and the rest will fall into place. Every breakdown is the beginning of a breakthrough…if you let it be. When things don’t go your way, do you choose to wallow or choose to change? Look within and ask yourself “what are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?” Read books on personal and business development, listen to podcasts, watch motivational YouTube videos, meditate, journal, workout and eat healthy. Commit to 30 minutes per day of personal growth and at least 30 minutes of exercise 4-5x/week. Consult with a coach or mentor that can help you see your blind spots and areas for improvement. Sometimes the slightest pivot can change your trajectory forever.

 

  1. Choose your tribe wisely – You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most. Choose your friends based on where you want to go and who you want to be and start working on becoming that person. Cut toxic people and relationships out of your life even if that means staying home alone on a Friday night. Having people to pass the time with is not worth the toll it takes on your personal growth and success. Choose activities that are in line with your goals and meet people doing that activity because odds are they have the same goals as you. For example, if you’re trying to get better at managing your money, go to a seminar on the topic and make friends there. If you find your life is full of toxic, unsupportive people or bad influences, take a good look at yourself. Your vibe attracts your tribe so if you’re attracting undesirable people, you may have some work to do within before you become desirable to the top 1%.

 

  1. Have an insane work ethic – Entrepreneurs live a few years of their life like most people won’t so they can live the rest of their lives like most people can’t. You don’t have to be the most creative person in your field. What you lack in natural talent, you can make up for with a work ethic like no other. Put your head down, focus on your daily grind, don’t look left or look right at your opponents and before you know it, you will be successful. Those that didn’t have the patience or tenacity will ask you how you did it, they’ll say you got lucky or that you were born with gifts and opportunities that they weren’t given. Let them say what they will. Let them keep wishing and crying because you know better. You are where you are because you kept working and you never quit. You earned every last bit of success you are experiencing and they could have had it too if they didn’t quit. Keep pushing my friends. This is just the beginning. In the end it will all be worth it!

 

  1. Celebrate your wins – Big and small. Often we tend to celebrate ourselves after completing a big goal but shortly thereafter, we are back to the grindstone chasing after that next goal, too busy to stop and appreciate ourselves for all our hard work and smaller accomplishments. Time can pass by quickly and sometimes we can get so caught up in the end goal, we forget to enjoy the journey along the way. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Success is the result of consistent effort and little wins over time. Our tendency is often to focus on the losses or the areas where we didn’t quite match up. While some reflection on areas for improvement is essential for growth, don’t wallow in it. Figure out where you can improve, take action, and move on. Successful people focus on where they are going not where they have been. Remind yourself you are doing the best you can and celebrate yourself for all your “wins” no matter how small they may seem. Little changes and little accomplishments add up to BIG results.

 

So there you have it. These are 7 common traits I have noticed among the successful entrepreneurs I work with in my private practice as well as others that I follow and learn from myself. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What do you think are the most important success principles? In which areas do you excel and where could you use some support?