Thursday, January 28, 2016

Win Over vs. Win With

In both personal and professional relationships, the question of winning often comes up.  As we navigate each day there is bound to be conflict due to frustration, anxiety, or misunderstandings.  We have to have an awareness of how each of us deals with these issues, and what are the goals we are trying to reach.  Are we trying to “Resolve the issue” or are we “trying to be right” or win?

In the book, 7 habits of highly effective people, James Covey talks about the “Win-Win” principle.  It describes how the best resolution is to have both parties walk away feeling good and a sense of victory.  This principle fosters more efficiency in a work environment, more satisfaction within a relationship, and more personal happiness.  Mr. Covey emphatically argues against the idea that you are considered a stronger individual if you always engage in the win-lose relationship scenarios. 

What kind of relationships do you have?  Do you constantly feel like you have to defend your position?  When the goal is to “win over” rather then to “win with”, Dr. Jessica Higgins eloquently phrased the consequence: “It becomes very difficult to maintain a respectful and considerate stance with one another”.

As you navigate your turbulent life journey, consider using the Win-Win strategy in order to achieve the most happiness and satisfaction as possible. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Relationships and Sports

Time and time again we see coaches and athletes talk very emotionally about the loss of relationships as they are leaving a specific team.  We hear stories about all the time spent together traveling, planning, practicing, resting, eating, and simply goofing around. 

These relationships are on display for the rest of us every day as we watch them celebrate with a unique dance, handshake, or hug.  Through social media, we read about an athlete sticking up for another, or extending congratulations after a victory or championship.  So, Why is this Important?

It’s important because both research and experience have shown that good relationships lead to success and happiness.  Since 1999, the San Antonio Spurs basketball team has won the NBA Championship 5 times, and many experts have labeled them a dynasty.  On paper they are neither the best players nor the highest paid players in the league, but they usually are the best TEAM in the league.

The Spurs put a priority and emphasis on having great relationships within their team, and they have set a wonderful example for the rest of us.  No matter what kind of “team” you are a part of, prioritizing good relationships will be time well spent.  Enjoy the journey.

A relationship is not a social skill

According to, social skills are “skills you use to communicate and interact with an other person.  This is done both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and our personal appearance”.  All of these skills are very important as we interact, relate, and communicate with the world around us, and all of these skills help us towards developing a relationship.

Webster defines a relationship as “ when two or more people are connected or in the state of being connected.”  That means that being in any kind of relationship is an Emotional Experience, and that requires a different focus.  Things like meaning and trust are important in relationships, and the deep one’s even require us to be vulnerable.  But how do we go from using social skills to developing relationships?

The answer is “An Emotional Corrective Experience”.  This means that as we use the social skills defined above, we keep track of whether the experience was good or bad.  If it is good, we keep going and try again in order to deepen the connection, but if it is bad we have a tendency to withdraw and eventually lose the connection.

Countless studies show that the happiest people are the one’s who have great relationships, so it is fair to say that the happiest people are the one’s who have the most (and best) emotional corrective experiences.  My advice is to go out there and build better connections, rather than focusing on mastering a specific social skill.   

Men have feelings too!

Even though men and women have equal amount of feelings inside of them, men often do not acknowledge nor talk about many of them.  For example, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, when dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression women are far more likely to seek out a mental health professional for support, while men tend to seek out drugs and/or alcohol for their coping strategies.  The National Center for Health Statistics collaborated these statistics as they reported that only a small fraction of men feeling stress, anxiety, or depression sought out mental health therapy for help.  They concluded that social stigma and worries about masculinity were big causes for men as reasons for staying away from such help.

Last century societal views of what a man is and what a man should handle continue to discourage most men from seeking proper support for their mental health.   The irony is that when overwhelmed, only the strongest and most courageous men (and women) seek mental help as a way to cope.  

Help change these old and incorrect societal views by encouraging a man in your life to seek help with their emotional needs. 

They can always welcome join my support group where we talk As Men, For Men, By Men,