Summer Refresh

Hello Friends!  Already, summer is half over.  Bummer.  Around here, summer is crazy madness for us.  We own a pool business after all!  However, my mind and body are trained to relax once that awesome summer sun starts shining.  Lazy days around the pool and time to “chill” with friends are terrific.

Every summer has also become a great time and opportunity to refresh, reevaluate and refocus.  Self-inventory and evaluation is vitally important to our personal and/or professional progress.  I feel better than ever about what God has planned for the future.

I’m ready.

I want to help you regain hope for your future.   Here are a few questions for you to ponder that will kick-start your evaluation.  These are things I ask myself, in no particular order.  Really, there is no right or wrong way to go about this.

Just do it.

Take the time.

Say the prayers.

Do the research.

Have the conversations.

Ask the questions.

There is absolutely no point in living a hopeless, monotonous, boring life.

Start thinking.

Make progress!

1) What are my top priorities?  At the end of my life, what will matter most?  Is what I think TRUE?

2) Does my time management reflect my priorities?  What needs to change?

3) Am I supporting my spouse physically, emotionally, verbally, financially, and spiritually… regularly?

4) Do my children have my attention?  Am I teaching them and correcting them in a positive and effective way…daily?

5) Specifically, what am I going to work on improving to make our house a place to come home to?

6) Do I need to make any apologies?  Ask for forgiveness?

7) What projects have I left unfinished?  Which ones are worth my time and energy and when?

8) Finances.  How do they look for the coming weeks, months, years?

9) Am I investing in other people?  Helping other people when, where and how they need it most?  Who else, Lord?

10) Is my professional network growing?  I need to make a fresh TO-DO list!

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Personalities and Love

Personalities & LOVE

Great relationships take work.  Accept the fact that relationships; whether they be marital, parental, companion or co-worker, are not always easy to maintain.  In fact, good relationships are hard to keep.  However, we should stop equating hard with bad.  Great relationships are worth fighting for.

Always, when I present the basics of personalities, people are curious about how personalities affect their relationships, usually with their spouse.  They want to know if “opposites attract” and what that may mean for their marriage.

I am pleased to report that my husband, Nathan, and I have a fantastic marriage.  While we certainly are not perfect people and we have our struggles, we agree that knowing personalities and understanding emotional needs gives us a unique perspective on our relationship.  We both have a rich appreciation for the strengths we possess as individuals, which helps us truly love and respect one another.  We are a team.  I encourage any married person or anyone considering marriage to study personalities.

Here is a brief overview of how relationships work based on personality type.

SHARED SPACE

The “easiest” and most common relationships seem to be when the couple shares some personality space.  In other words, you and the person you are in relationship with have one color or square of the personality chart in common, but are not totally alike.  Those commonalities in behavior and expectation make the relationship easier because you naturally understand certain things about one another and are likely to have the same reactions to life circumstances.  Having your secondary personality color or square differ provides just enough balance to keep the relationship interesting.

The Popular Sanguine Relationship (yellow) – FUN!  ADVENTUROUS!  SPONTANEOUS!  Need I say more?  When two sanguines get together, it seems the fountain of fun will never run dry.  However, as we all know, there are moments in life that are just not any fun.  When the fun fades, the sanguine relationship is in danger.  Sanguines must learn how to deal with the difficult times and the fact that adult responsibilities do exist and must be handled properly.  Sometimes, planning is necessary for success and decision-making.  Together, this duo must learn how to navigate and overcome adversity.  They must learn time management, what it means to commit and how to follow the rules.  They must learn how to have fun without money and when other “not-as-fun” people are involved.  If you are in a sanguine relationship that is struggling, go have fun together.  Act a little crazy and the spark will be rekindled.

The Perfect Melancholy Relationship (blue) – When the melancholy square is the shared space the relationship tends to be well organized and private.  Time spent together is well thought out and properly placed on the calendar.  As a couple, these two have plans for provision, education and vacation as well as a timely budget or strategies for the budget in place.  The home is neat and orderly and bills are always paid on time.  However, high expectations often put a heavy burden on the relationship and it may become difficult for either person to feel perfect enough.  It may be tempting to become critical of one another and difficult to forgive and forget when the other person creates a mess.  If you are in a melancholy relationship be willing to accept delays, mishaps and changes in the plan.  Work together, but be careful not to isolate yourselves from extended family and friends.  Take time away from your normal routine to enjoy one another’s company and your common love for the arts or nature, without any rules or expectations.

The Powerful Choleric Relationship (red) – Out of the way!  Two cholerics will be working to change the world, or at least their own.  This couple is on the move, going places, doing things, seeing people, getting things done…in a word; ACTIVE.  This couple will be goal-oriented and productive.  “Down time” is spent on the next project and together this team is unstoppable.  However, these two will find themselves competing for control and for one another’s time.  Working on any relationship is too easily put off for working on work.  Be careful not to become competitive with one another.  Focus on supporting and respecting each other’s ideas.  Make time to relax.  But, realize that most of your bonding will occur as you work side by side and see accomplishments come as a result of your hard teamwork.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic Relationship (green) – Two peaceful phlegmatics simply have it made.  They are generally at peace with one another and have a relaxed relationship.  They don’t tend to pressure one another to change or do…well…anything.   As a couple they are open to whatever.  However, the reality of life circumstances are often stressful and managing a home, children and careers can easily become overwhelming for this pair.  If you are in a peaceful phlegmatic relationship you must work extra hard on communication, planning and setting boundaries.  Naturally, conflict is avoided.  So, working through problems, making decisions and sticking to a plan are difficult at best.  Phlegmatic couples are a great example for the rest of us, though, on how to be accepting, content and satisfied in a relationship.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT – When no commonalities in personality exist.

If the relationship is Powerful Choleric/Perfect Melancholy with Peaceful Phlegmatic/Popular Sanguine, the pair is a nice balance.  Some common ground exists because both people are part extrovert and part introvert giving the couple flexibility and a way to connect.  Easily, the couple will recognize their differences and have great potential to really appreciate those differences.  This is the scenario where one truly compliments the other.

If the relationship is EXTROVERT vs. INTROVERT or Sanguine/Choleric with Melancholy/Phlegmatic, the work begins.  This marriage can be very successful and fulfilling, but requires tremendous understanding.  Remember, one person is turbo-charged and energized by people, while the other is sucked dry by people and wants to go home.  This relationship will take some serious negotiating from both parties.

However, when opposites do attract the couple has a unique opportunity to create a well-rounded lifestyle and relationship that other couples struggle to find.

TOO MUCH ALIKE 

Not as common, but occasionally, people of the same personality are drawn to one another, fall in love (basically with them self) and get married.  Interestingly, it seems these marriages or lifestyles often require more attention than others because of the lack of balance.  And, by nature, two choleric or two melancholy personalities in a close relationship may need the most work of all.

The marriage will tend to have an extreme tilt.  For example if two choleric people marry, there will likely be an “abnormal” amount of conflict.  In order to tilt the marriage back to a healthy or normal range, practicing good conflict resolution becomes crucial.  Usually, one person in this relationship will have to learn to relinquish control to make peace and they begin to look a bit less “choleric.”  On the other extreme, in a relationship where both people are peaceful phlegmatic, conflict is completely avoided and lack of communication may become a serious issue.  In order for there to be progress in the home, one will be forced to step into the role of planning, making decisions and being more productive than their natural tendencies.

I think in most relationships where both people share a majority of personality traits, one person, for the sake of the relationship and general lifestyle, will step outside of their natural personality and learn to take on new traits to compensate for what is naturally off balance.  As a result, some people may even transform into what seems to be a much different person than they were when you married them.  The transformation may be just what you hoped for or it may leave you feeling unsure about the person you married.  Recognizing why change was required will help you appreciate the way your spouse has adapted to living with you.  Remember, change can be a positive thing, but the original personality is still deep within and the corresponding emotional needs still apply.

SINGLE?  NO WORRIES.  For those of you who are single, you may wonder, “Do I need a significant other to feel complete and have balance in my life?  No.  Marriage is not the only relationship.  There will be plenty of other people in your life who create that balance you need.  A phlegmatic male will find motivation from his choleric mother.  A choleric female will be humbled by her boss.  Sanguine singles will eventually settle down and seek advice from a grandparent.  A melancholy man will learn to relax as his co-workers drag him to office parties.  Just living with family, co-workers and friends will make you aware of differences in personality and you will naturally experience the fullness personalities bring to all human relationships.  Thankfully, as human beings, we have the intellectual ability to learn, change and take on strengths of other personalities so that we can access our own reserves of hidden potential, single or not.

To summarize, what is important in our relationships: don’t try to change the one we chose.  We chose our spouse because there was something about them we couldn’t live without.  We loved that “it” factor.  The “it” factor, my friends, is probably their personality — who they are and how they are wired.  Amazingly, whatever the thing was that drew us to them in the first place is the thing we end up being most annoyed by later.  Accept your differences.  Appreciate what makes your spouse unique.  Work hard at giving them the gift of meeting their emotional needs. Speaking of…

In case you need a refresher, here are the basic emotional needs of each personality:

Sanguine  (yellow) : Attention from all, Affection (touching), Approval of every deed, Acceptance “as is”

Melancholy (blue) : Sensitivity to their feelings, Understanding, Space to be alone, Silence (no people)

Choleric (red) : Loyalty, Sense of Control, Appreciation for all their hard work, Accomplishment

Phlegmatic (green) : Peace and quiet, Feelings of Worth, Lack of Stress, Respect for who they are, not what they do

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Personalities and Marriage

Great relationships take work.  Accept the fact that relationships; whether they be marital, parental, companion or co-worker, are not easy to maintain.  In fact, good relationships are hard to keep.  However, we must never equate hard with bad.  Great relationships are worth fighting for.

Always, when I present the basics of personalities, people are curious about how personalities affect their relationships, usually with their spouse.  They want to know if “opposites attract” and what that may mean for their marriage.

I am pleased to be able to share that my husband, Nathan, and I have a fantastic marriage.  While we certainly are not perfect people and we have our struggles, we agree that knowing personalities and understanding emotional needs gives us a unique perspective on our relationship.  We both have a rich appreciation for the strengths we possess as individuals, which helps us truly love and respect one another.  We are a team.  I encourage any married person or anyone considering marriage to study personalities.

Here is a brief overview of how relationships work based on personality type.

SHARED SPACE

The “easiest” and most common relationships seem to be when the couple shares some personality space.  In other words, you and the person you are in relationship with have one color or square of the personality chart in common, but are not totally alike.  Those commonalities in behavior and expectation make the relationship easier because you naturally understand certain things about one another and are likely to have the same reactions to life circumstances.  Having your secondary personality color or square differ provides just enough balance to keep the relationship interesting.

The Popular Sanguine Relationship (yellow) – FUN!  ADVENTUROUS!  SPONTANEOUS!  Need I say more?  When two sanguines get together, it seems the fountain of fun will never run dry.  My brother and his bride are both the popular Sanguine.  I wish I would have counted how many people referred to the word “fun” at their wedding.  They were both glowing with happiness. Sanguine marriages are exciting and fresh.  Both parties are flexible, compromising and forgiving which makes for a happy relationship.  As parents, this pair loves to play with their children and relishes in making fun memories.  However, as we all know, there are moments in life that are just not exactly fun.  When the fun fades, the sanguine relationship is in danger.  Sanguines must learn how to deal with the difficult times and the fact that adult responsibilities do exist and must be handled properly.  Sometimes, planning is necessary for success and decision-making.  Together, this duo must learn how to navigate and overcome adversity.  They must learn time management, what it means to commit and how to follow the rules.  They must learn how to have fun without money and when other “not-as-fun” people are involved.  If you are in a sanguine relationship that is struggling, go have fun together.  Act a little crazy and the spark will be rekindled.

The Perfect Melancholy Relationship (blue) – When the melancholy square is the shared space the relationship tends to be well organized and private.  Time spent together is well thought out and properly placed on the calendar.  As a couple, these two have plans for provision, education and vacation as well as a timely budget or strategies for the budget in place.  The home is neat and orderly and bills are always paid on time.  As parents, this pair is loving and very protective of their children.  They have a difficult time allowing their children to take risks or try things that are unfamiliar.  The liabilities of this relationship are high expectations.  Unrealistic standards often put a heavy burden on the relationship and it may become difficult for either person to feel perfect enough.  It may be tempting to become critical of one another and difficult to forgive and forget when the other person creates a mess.  If you are in a melancholy relationship be willing to accept delays, mishaps and changes in the plan.  Work together, but be careful not to isolate yourselves from extended family and friends.  Take time away from your normal routine to enjoy one another’s company and your common love for the arts or nature, without any rules or expectations.

The Powerful Choleric Relationship (red) – Out of the way!  Two cholerics will be working to change the world, or at least their own.  This couple is on the move, going places, doing things, seeing people, getting things done…in a word; ACTIVE.  This couple will be goal-oriented and productive.  “Down time” is spent on the next project and together this team is unstoppable.  As parents, cholerics are firm and motivating.  They will not tolerate laziness for long and are quick to correct.  As a married couple, these two will find themselves competing for control and for one another’s time.  Working on any relationship is too easily put off for working on work.  Be careful not to become competitive with one another.  Focus on supporting and respecting each other’s ideas.  Make time to relax.  But, realize that most of your bonding will occur as you work side by side and see accomplishments come as a result of your hard teamwork.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic Relationship (green) – Two peaceful phlegmatics simply have it made.  They are generally at peace with one another and have a relaxed relationship.  They don’t tend to pressure one another to change or do…well…anything.   As a couple they are open to whatever.  As parents they are very patient with their children, but must work to maintain control over them.  Strong-willed children will just take over the home.  The reality of life circumstances are often stressful and managing a home, children and careers can easily become overwhelming for this pair.  If you are in a peaceful phlegmatic relationship you must work extra hard on communication, planning and setting boundaries.  Naturally, conflict is avoided.  So, working through problems, making decisions and sticking to a plan are difficult at best.  Phlegmatic couples are a great example for the rest of us, though, on how to be accepting, content and satisfied in a relationship.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT – When no commonalities in personality exist.

If the relationship is Powerful Choleric/Perfect Melancholy with Peaceful Phlegmatic/Popular Sanguine, the pair is a nice balance.  Some common ground exists because both people are part extrovert and part introvert giving the couple flexibility and a way to connect.  Easily, the couple will recognize their differences and have great potential to really appreciate those differences.  This is the scenario where one truly compliments the other.

If the relationship is EXTROVERT vs. INTROVERT or Sanguine/Choleric with Melancholy/Phlegmatic, the work begins.  This marriage can be very successful and fulfilling, but requires tremendous understanding.  Remember, one person is turbo-charged and energized by people, while the other is sucked dry by people and wants to go home.  This relationship will take some serious negotiating from both parties.

However, when opposites do attract the couple has a unique opportunity to create a well-rounded lifestyle and relationship that other couples struggle to find.

TOO MUCH ALIKE 

Not as common, but occasionally, people of the same personality are drawn to one another, fall in love (basically with them self) and get married.  Interestingly, it seems these marriages or lifestyles often require more attention than others because of the lack of balance.  And, by nature, two choleric or two melancholy personalities in a close relationship may need the most work of all.

The marriage will tend to have an extreme tilt.  For example if two choleric people marry, there will likely be an “abnormal” amount of conflict.  In order to tilt the marriage back to a healthy or normal range, practicing good conflict resolution becomes crucial.  Usually, one person in this relationship will have to learn to relinquish control to make peace and they begin to look a bit less “choleric.”  On the other extreme, in a relationship where both people are peaceful phlegmatic, conflict is completely avoided and lack of communication may become a serious issue.  In order for there to be progress in the home, one will be forced to step into the role of planning, making decisions and being more productive than their natural tendencies.

I think in most relationships where both people share a majority of personality traits, one person, for the sake of the relationship and general lifestyle, will step outside of their natural personality and learn to take on new traits to compensate for what is naturally off balance.  As a result, some people may even transform into what seems to be a much different person than they were when you married them.  The transformation may be just what you hoped for or it may leave you feeling unsure about the person you married.  Recognizing why change was required will help you appreciate the way your spouse has adapted to living with you.  Remember, change can be a positive thing, but the originalpersonality is still deep within and the corresponding emotional needs still apply.

SINGLE?  For those of you who are single, you may wonder, “Do I need a significant other to feel complete and have balance in my life?  No.  Marriage is not the only relationship.  There will be plenty of other people in your life who create that balance you need.  A phlegmatic male will find motivation from his choleric mother.  A choleric female will be humbled by her boss.  Sanguine singles will eventually settle down and seek advice from a grandparent.  A melancholy man will learn to relax as his co-workers drag him to office parties.  Just living with family, co-workers and friends will make you aware of differences in personality and you will naturally experience the fullness personalities bring to all human relationships.  Thankfully, as human beings, we have the intellectual ability to learn, change and take on strengths of other personalities so that we can access our own reserves of hidden potential, single or not.

Anyway, back to the main point for this month…

To summarize, what is important in our relationships: don’t try to change the one you chose.  We chose our spouse because there was something about them we couldn’t live without.  We loved that “it” factor.  The “it” factor, my friends, is probably their personality — who they are and how they are wired.  Amazingly, whatever the thing was that drew us to them in the first place is the thing we end up being most annoyed by later.  Accept your differences.  Appreciate what makes your spouse unique.  Work hard at giving them the gift of meeting their emotional needs and your relationships will bring you great joy.

In case you need a refresher, here are the basic emotional needs of each personality:

Sanguine  (yellow) : Attention from all, Affection (touching),Approval of every deed, Acceptance “as is”

Melancholy (blue) : Sensitivity to their feelings,UnderstandingSpace to be alone, Silence (no people)

Choleric (red) : Loyalty, Sense of ControlAppreciation for all their hard work, Accomplishment

Phlegmatic (green) : Peace and quiet, Feelings of Worth,Lack of StressRespect for who they are, not what they do

EAT HUMBLE PIE

Fellow personality trainer, Sue Thompson of Set Free Life Seminars, shared this article in her most recent newsletter and I had to share it with you.  It is a quick read and great reminder about TRUE humility, why it matters and how to have it.  Enjoy!

http://www.setfreelifeseminars.com/ExceptionalityMay2012.pdf

The Powerful Ones

The Choleric Personality 

While the Sanguine personality type is the most obvious to identify and the Melancholy is the second most obvious, being the Sanguines stark opposite, we find ourselves taking a different approach to determine the Choleric

As you read, try to identify the choleric in your life, understanding that you cannot change them.  However, you can change your approach to them in order to improve or save this intense relationship.  

If you identify yourself as Choleric, please slow down and hear me today.  You posses a tremendous amount of potential.  However, you are the most unlikely to reach your full potential because you are, by nature, not teachable.  I’m not asking you to agree; I am simply asking you to read the entire thing and hear me out.  Fair enough?  Please consider how you can best live in the avenue of your strengths and what steps you need to take to overcome and break through your weaknesses.  Don’t be fooled, your weaknesses will stop you from reaching your greatest potential.  The worst thing you can do is conclude, “Well, that’s just the way I am,” — that is, unless, you are willing to give that courtesy to everyone else including employees, coworkers and family. We are ALL a work in progress.    

Here are 7 main points for you to know and expect about the Powerful Choleric personality:

1) Shift in Atmospheric Pressure.  I have found the best way to determine if someone is Powerful Choleric, is not by the way they dress or the volume of their voice, but by the shift in the atmosphere when they enter a room.  They never enter a room unnoticed.  If they are a positive force in your life, they bring with them a sense of energy and excitement. You brace for a new adventure and see them as someone to follow.  If they are a negative force in your life, they bring with them a feeling of stress and tension that could be sliced with a knife.  You know what I mean. 

2) Likeness to the energizer bunny.  The choleric person is highly productive and project focused.  They always have a TO DO list much longer than is humanly possible.  This is the person you look at and think, “Do they ever stop?”  The answer is no.  Even in their sleep, they are thinking of what is next.  They often find it difficult to rest.  However, they do understand that sleep and rest are necessary for production and so, once they decide to stop for the day, they stop.  Compared to the other personality types, Cholerics have the highest energy level and are re-energized by activity.  As long as there are things that need done, they seem to muster the energy and effort it takes to make it happen.  And then, they strongly desire credit and recognition for their achievements.

If you are not Choleric, you may find it difficult to keep up with this person.  You may find you are exhausted by all their projects and wild ideas.  Set clear boundaries with them.  They need to understand what you are willing to help do and not do.  They need to know how much is too much.  Otherwise, they will drive you right over the edge.  I assure you, nothing will seem like too much to them.

3) A love for being challenged.  The choleric is a thrill seeker who thrives under pressure.  They continuously challenge themselves to take things to the next level. Even when a new challenge is not required or necessary, they will make one up.  Often, this tendency results in the choleric making normal, routine activities and conversations more difficult.  Many people struggle in relationships with a choleric because it seems nothing is ever simple.  The choleric makes things harder and more complicated than is necessary.  

Cholerics are problem fixers who are quick to jump on rescue missions or to throw out options for solving problems unless they perceive a winning solution is not possible.  

You see, if the choleric can’t win, they won’t play.

4) Not a democracy.  Passionate about their business, family and causes, Cholerics are natural born leaders whose basic desire in life is having their way. And they will figure out how to have it.  In fact, my Choleric, entrepreneur father loves to say, “He who signs the check has the last say.” Truly, they innately believe they are right and the best person for the job, often convincing them-self they are the only one capable.  Usually, this personality type is the fastest to see the end, or big picture, which gives them tremendous decision making ability.  The problem is, they lack patience and communication skills to help everyone else see things from their perspective.  They are too busy to slow down and explain.  They will remove whatever or whomever is hindering progress rather than waste time helping them get on the same page.  They tend to lead like dictators with an inner, or perhaps vocal, attitude that screams “I’m driving the bus.  I know where we are going and I know how to get there.  Get on or get off, but I’m pulling out now.”  

When Cholerics are living in their leadership strengths, the bus will be full of loyal and devoted followers.  People are drawn to ambition and the ability to truly get a job done and done well.  However, what people won’t tolerate long is being made to feel like they are stupid, replaceable or not important.  Cholerics in leadership positions — which I am confident to assume are all cholerics — must remember these truths: people are more important than projects, people are not projects, and the kind of success that leaves a legacy is not possible without a team.  

Leaders need loyal followers.  Loyal followers need honest, compassionate and thoughtful leaders who are willing to listen, ask questions and consider other points of view.  

5) Respect redefined.  Because the choleric is so task focused, they define respect in terms of accomplishment and the ability to make decisions.  Without realizing it, most cholerics withhold admiration and respect for others until they have witnessed them succeed.  Respect is earned.  This explains why cholerics usurp authority and have a hard time submitting to someone who they view as incompetent or who has not rightly earned their way.  

I must express a word of caution as a choleric who desires to develop into a woman of unshakable character.  Being a person who can claim to be respectful means, that even when it is difficult, you choose to show and give respect regardless of whether someone has earned it.  Respect does not mean you agree, it means you treat others with the same kindness and courtesy you expect, no strings attached.

6) Controlling or just right?  I already noted the Choleric’s basic desire to have their own way.  They desire control of people, situations, finances, projects, etc.  What I need every reader to understand is that the Choleric’s desire for control is not a choice or an attempt to drive you completely nuts, it is a need.  They need control like they need oxygen.  The good news, is that they are designed for it and they can handle it.  A choleric, living in their strengths, has an ability unlike the other personality types to do well under extreme pressure.  They can think clearly and make the right decisions under difficult circumstances without falling apart or worrying about what others will think.  I hope you can recognize the blessing of such a person!  The warning to the choleric is in the approach.  The most important thing for a choleric to control is self.  You cannot just take over as you wish, say what you want, to whomever you want and when you want.  Just because you can, does not mean you should.  Not every project, person and situation needs to be rescued.  Use discernment and consideration as you seek to help.  The cholerics desire for control often leads them down a path where they are involved in so many things, they lose their ability to manage time wisely and wind up failing in most everything rather than being extremely successful in a few.

7) Powerful emotions.  The choleric is often the most easy to identify when their emotional needs are not being met.  They become impulsive, overbearing, impatient and angry.  To obtain and maintain emotional health, Cholerics need loyalty from the troops, a sense of control, appreciation for service and accomplishment.  

In the simplest terms, the choleric in your life needs four things from you;

1) to know, without a doubt, you are on their side,

2) to be able to make some decisions to which you submit and enthusiastically agree,

3) to hear you say ‘thank you’ for all of their hard work and efforts,

4) time to get things done.  

I have found that the best thing you can say to fill the cholerics emotional cup is something along the lines of, “I don’t know how you do all you do.”  Watch the resolve on their face lighten.  Express gratitude to them often and your relationship will soar.

My challenge to you this month is that you take these seven things, one for each day of each week this month, and think about how you can use the information to build up your Choleric relationships.  The key will be actually doing something with the information.  Perhaps you need to have a conversation laced with appreciation, offer to physically help get a project finished, promote your Choleric to a role that better suits them, or simply get out of their way and watch them go.   

Or, if you are Choleric, consider how you can make better decisions to change your bad habits, attitudes and communication style for a better you this month. 

Remember, healthy relationships make for a happier, healthier more productive life.  And besides that, people are worth it.

Lady Gaga & Oprah

So, I just watched a recent interview Oprah did with Lady Gaga on her new series Oprah’s Next Chapter.  I feel an urgent need to respond in some way and this blog was my first thought.  In the interview, Oprah, in typical fashion, is trying to get to the “real” Gaga and understand who she is and what she wants in life.  The truth is, Lady Gaga is as she appears; creative, strange, bizarre, famous, wealthy, and disturbed.  I am not a Lady Gaga fan for the simple fact that she is too vulgar for me.  However, I can respect her hard work and genuine talent and I do enjoy listening to a song or two.  However, my personal opinion of Lady Gaga is not important to this post.

What is important is what she, and Oprah, had to say about her new foundation, Born that Way.  The episode shows various clips from Gaga and Oprah’s launch of the foundation at Harvard University.  Obviously, the combination of these three platforms –- Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga and Harvard University –- drew a huge crowd and media attention.  I have no doubt the message of the foundation will spread like wildfire.  When people with so much fame speak, people listen and minds are influenced.  The message of the foundation is one of anti-bullying, acceptance, and encouraging youth to embrace who they are with the understanding that they were “born that way” and they should love themselves, not caring about what anyone else thinks for the purpose of their happiness.

Sounds good, right?  I mean who in their right mind is pro-bullying or all for people hating themselves?  No one.

While listening to the interview, you certainly get the impression that Lady Gaga fully believes and embraces her message.  I could never label her as a hypocrite, she practices what she preaches.  There is nothing Gaga is not  willing to do or try or say if and when she feels like it.  It is clear that this message defines her; she is whoever she wants to be, with no limits and nothing holding her back.   Gaga and her mother attribute her worldwide fame and success to this creative freedom and share touching stories of cruel experiences Gaga had as a teen who was bullied.

However, everything we believe and live out has consequences.  It is a simple fact.  Gaga has lived fully in her belief and her extreme creativity has made her a superstar around the world.  But, there is always more than meets the eye.  When someone incredibly famous starts spreading a message that thousands are going to hear, I listen and consider the impact.  And I believe there is a fundamental flaw and a contradiction in her message that will lead many down a path of destruction.

Here is where I get confused, Gaga is quick to admit she is not perfect, in fact she says no one is perfect.  I agree.  But, think about what she is saying.

If we accept and believe that we are not perfect, then how do we spread the message that we are born perfectly fine and we should embrace who we are?  Which is it, Lady Gaga?  If you are not perfect, then can you please explain which part of you is wrong?  Is it the profanity, the half-nakedness, the sexually charged choreography, the alcohol binges, the days you refuse to make contact with family and worry them sick, or something else that makes you imperfect?  According to Gaga all of these things I just mentioned are the results of her creative process.  There is nothing “wrong” with any of it.  In fact, her own mother said the only thing she doesn’t like is when Stephanie curses in public.  But, she goes on to surrender to the fact that cursing is just a part of who Lady Gaga is, so it’s okay.  So, even her mother agrees, there is nothing actually wrong with anything.  Why then does Gaga think she is not perfect?  How does she define what is okay and what is not?  Call me crazy, but this makes no logical sense.

My fear is that if we teach youngsters that there is nothing wrong with them, then is anything they desire or any behavior actually wrong?  How do you even make a case for positive change or personal development?  How do we determine rules at school and enforce them?  How do we parent?  Should there even be rules or should we just let everyone do as they please, if and when and how they feel like it because it makes them happy?  Imagine.  This is the world Lady Gaga is trying to create.

You see, when we lose the ability to define right and wrong, we become very confused, messed up individuals.

The truth is no one is born perfect and, yes, we know it.   We are all born with natural tendencies to do wrong.  Think back to when your first-born child was six months old and decided to slap you in the face.  Babies are inclined to assert themselves when you refuse to give them what they want.  They are “born that way”.  My four-year old son is highly competitive and is inclined to run you over if he thinks you are going to win his race.  He would rather see you bleed than win.  He was “born that way”.   Many a man has been born with a temper or felt inclined to dominate every situation in his life, it makes him happy to control women and children in whatever way he sees fit.  Many a woman has been born with a desire to feel attractive and has obsessively destroyed her body trying to achieve her desired look.  She was “born that way”.

Being “born that way” does not make you right.  Unless, of course, there is no “right.”

Listen, I am all for being nice and respectful toward those who are different from us.   Different is not the same thing as wrong and I teach that concept in almost every presentation I give; different is not wrong.  But, I am careful to say, “but, wrong is wrong and there is right and wrong.”  Gaga’s attitude of total acceptance seems good on the surface, but I am warning you, if our culture continues to embrace this idea, then right and wrong are out the window.  Everything becomes relative, there are no lines to be drawn.  We need to ask ourselves, where will it end?  If Lady Gaga feels inclined to perform naked, who’s to stop her?  If young people want to behave in certain ways because it makes them happy, do you have the right to stop them and tell them what they are doing is wrong?  According to this theory, no.  There are no absolutes, except of course the statement, “there are no absolutes.”  That statement, I guess, is the exception.

My solution is this:  Surrender to the idea that there is a rule giver.  There is an almighty and perfect God who created the boundaries for our good and for His glory.  He IS right.  Here is my anti-bullying message, “Don’t be a jerk.  Treat other people the way you want to be treated.  Everyone is precious and valuable because they were made in the image of God and they deserve to be treated as such.  Bullying is wrong and if you do it, there will be consequences.”  See how easy that was?  When we submit to the authority of our creator, everything else falls into place.

When we try to design and develop our own rules, things get really screwed up.

Why?

Because as Lady Gaga put it, none of us are perfect.

 

Etiquette Woes

I recently received certification as an expert in American Business Etiquette from the American Business Etiquette Trainers Association.  While I have practiced some etiquette techniques for years, I learned several new things through the hours of training in twenty different etiquette modules.  I am now more convinced that etiquette is the key element in growing your business.  The success of any business, large or small, hinges on relationships.   Etiquette opens the door by  helping you build rapport and immediate trust with others in business dealings.

However, to be perfectly honest, I am discovering that not all proper etiquette comes natural to me.  It is a skill I must consciously practice with the hope it will become habit.  What I love about the idea of etiquette and what continues to motivate me  is that it truly is about putting others first.  Studying the art of etiquette has given me appropriate tools for a professional environment to SHOW that I care.  It is true you know?  People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.

If you have a desire to help people and to make a positive difference through your business, hobbies or other passions, then I believe you cannot ignore your good manners skill set.  Good manners are tied to building good relationships and good relationships are tied to truly helping others grow and change.

“Let noting be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Philippians 2:3