Risk vs Reward

It felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest as I grasped the magnitude of what I was about to do.

My knees shook so bad that it was actually a relief when I went down on one knee.

And my voice trembled and I barely got out the words of the most important speech of my life.

Fear is a very powerful emotion that can sometimes prevent us from being harmed. But it can also prevent us from achieving great things.

proposal

“There are those who SEE an opportunity. And then there are those who SEIZE an opportunity.” – Joanie Warren

Thankfully, that night 25 years ago,  I was able to recognize that the reward of enjoying my life with the woman of my dreams was worth the risk of possibly being rejected. That risk-reward analysis allowed me to seized the opportunity to ask her to marry me.

And what did she say?

After a huge hug and many tears (of joy) she was finally able to get out the word, “YES”.

And 25 years later, I can happily report that that decision was definitely worth it!

So next time you have to make a key decision, do a Risk-Reward analysis and if you decide that it is worth the risk, push through the fear, seize that opportunity and enjoy the reward.

*This post is dedicated to my beautiful wife April, and to Patricia and Dave Heather who have been two of the best role models we could have who are also celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary today.*

Motivational Quote: Perspective in the middle of a challenge

This has been a rough day!!!

Today I heard about a relative who was recently diagnose with Colin Cancer, two friends whose marriages are breaking down, a friend whose husband tried to commit suicide, a friend whose mother-in-law passed away.

So this quote is dedicated to all of them.

“The place which may seem like an end may only be the beginning.” – Author Unknown

If you are reading this please say a prayer for my friends. (God knows who you are talking about)

Thanks, I appreciate it.

Motivational Quote: The Effect of Negative Words

“Harsh words can be like nuclear bombs to relationships” – Royal Hamel, http://www.lightthedarkness.org/

Just as harsh words can destroy, kind words can energize relationships more than you can ever expect.

So choose your words wisely.

Feeling Holiday Stress? Read on

As many people know the Holidays can be a very busy and stressful time.

The following article was written by a friend of mine, Julie Christiansen will help you get through this stressful time.

Julie Christiansen, http://www.angersolution.com is the author of many books on Anger Solution and Stress relief.

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Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful… Yes, that sounds very romantic and idealistic in the lyrics of a song, but the truth is that often, while the weather outside might indeed be frightful, the climate indoors when families come together is not much better.

I don’t know why exactly, but I have heard it over and over again that the holidays seem to bring out the worst in some families. Here are jus some of the things my clients and customers have relayed to me about holiday gatherings – and I’m not making this stuff up:

  • I hold my anger in all year until right about Christmas time – and then when the whole family gets together, usually someone says something that is like, “the last straw”, and I just explode! I lambaste the whole family and then I’m good for another year.
  • Every time our family gets together, it always becomes a contest about who was treated the worst, who had the most unhappy childhood, and who was daddy’s favourite.
  • I hate family get togethers – my brother always says something unsavoury or rude, and it just ruins the whole thing!
  • I would rather spend Christmas on the other side of the world, alone – than spend it with my family. They make me feel so unloved and unwanted.

That’s pretty depressing, isn’t it! Yet, a vast majority of people reading this can relate, and may even be nodding their heads in agreement with some of the above statements! So – how do we get through the holidays unscathed? Here are some tips for surviving holiday stress and beating holiday anger – the Anger Solutions way.

  1. Remember the reason for the season. The holidays are not about presents. They are not about airing family grievances. They are not even about the turkey and the trimmings. The holidays are about honouring your faith, and spending quality time with the ones that you love as you celebrate. Keep your focus on the reason why your family is coming together, rather than all the horrid memories of Christmases past.
  2. Consider your desired outcomes. We teach this until we’re blue in the face with Anger Solutions: your events PLUS your responses equal your outcomes. The challenge is that too often, we don’t pre-consider what outcomes we would like to achieve. Ask yourself: “How would I like this Christmas or holiday gathering to turn out?” “What’s the best way to ensure that my outcomes are realized?” Decide in advance, what measures you can take to do an end-run around those who would attempt to derail your plans. My number one priority outcome is always to create great memories. If that is your priority outcome, how can you make that happen? That brings us to our next strategy:
  3. Solicit partners in positive outcomes. Do you like the ring of that? Partners in positive outcomes. Talk to your family members BEFORE your big event. Be honest about your misgivings and state your expectations. Go beyond asking questions about who is bringing the sweet potatoes or the dessert. It might sound something like this: “So Christmas dinner is at our house this year, and I know we all want to have a really great time. What I’m hoping for is that we can all put aside any of the family stuff that we deal with all the rest of the year, and just really enjoy each other’s company.”
  4. If there is a particular family member who tends to be the instigator, prepare a plan for how you will deal with this individual’s behaviour. You may want to be proactive, and address them prior to the get-together in the hopes that they will agree to be on their best behaviour. Another approach is to call them on their behaviour as soon as they begin with their typical antics. Do this by calling them aside privately – no need to embarrass them or the rest of the family. Very gently and compassionately identify the behaviour that is problematic and request that they discontinue the behaviour for the rest of the evening. E.g. “Mom, I know that you want to be involved in the preparation of the food, and I’m grateful that you’re here to help, but when you openly criticize my cooking in front of the family, I feel minimized and belittled. I’m guessing that others here might feel uncomfortable when that happens as well. I’m sure you don’t mean to do that, but that is how I feel all the same. So I’m asking you if you would be kind enough to keep your criticisms to yourself for the rest of the night – I would really appreciate that.” Other approaches may be to ban the “meddling” instigators from the kitchen under the premise that they deserve to relax and mingle while the last minute preparations are taken care of. This always works better when two or more people deliver the same message.
  5. Be prepared for awkward moments. If you follow this blog, http://angersolution.blogspot.com/ then you know you have seen the TSA model before, but it will really help you if you find yourself experiencing a frustration signal during your family get togethers. Here it is again in a nutshell: THINK – What is happening? What does it mean? How do I feel about it? How would I like this to be resolved? What should I do next? SAY – “I feel… I need… I would like… ” Here’s a little tip – rather than saying, “Please don’t” – identify the exact behaviour that you would like to see instead. It keeps the conversation positive, and also clarifies your expectations for the other person. ASK – “Can you see where I’m coming from?” “How can we work together to help everyone have a really great time tonight?” Get the other individual involved in the problem solving process and you will get through even the awkward moments – AND you’ll do it together.
  6. Develop a structure for the evening. It doesn’t have to be a fully programmed dinner party; however, it may be more enjoyable and less stressful if you have a basic idea of how the evening will flow. Here’s an example:

– start with appetizers of course – people can mingle, listen to music, get caught up with each other while the last minute meal prep is being taken care of. Ensure that the beverages and finger foods are NOT in the kitchen area, so you can minimize traffic through your workspace. You may want to have some space set aside for the kids/youth in the family so that they can hang out, play games, watch TV or socialize while they wait for the food to be served as well. Once dinner is over, the designated cleanup crew clears the tables and gets them prepped for dessert. You may want to bring out some games (quiet ones at this point) – card games, chinese checkers, battleship, etc. for people to play. There are of course lots of new fun games on the market that engage conversation, and can be played by a large number of people. These are ideal to hel people stay focused on having fun, rather than wanting to bring up old family grievances. If there is a time for gift giving, designate a time for this as well.

I trust you will find this advice helpful as you prepare to go full steam ahead into the holidays. Above all else, remember the reason for the season – that is my first and last piece of advice to you.

Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and above all, be blessed!

The 7+ Habits of Highly Effective Husbands – Habit #12: Cherish Every Moment

Effective husbands cherish every moment of their marriage.

Not just the good times (that’s the easy part), but the challenging times as well.

And I know that it won’t seem like it at the time, but those challenging times are really a gift.

They’re a gift because those times are what will mold you into the best husband you can be. Those times are what will move you closer as a couple. And those times are what will provide the wisdom that you can then pass down to future generations.

And how do you get through those rough times?

You laugh!!! You play!!! You hold on!!!

And before you know it, life will be better than ever.

You know that you have picked a wonderful girl. And if you use these strategies that I shared with you in this series of blog posts, she will know that you are a wonderful and effective husband.

So, on that note I believe it is fitting to end this blog series on The 7+ Habits of Highly Effective Husbands with a toast.

To Love, to laughter and a happy ever after.

Also, if you have read one or all twelve of these tips and found them useful, and know of anyone else who might enjoy this series of blog posts,  feel free to send them an email with a link to this blog. That way they can also benefit from this information.

The 7+ Habits of Highly Effective Husbands – Habit#11: Talk to the Old Man

If your wedding was like most, the husbands in attendance will have approximately 300-400 years of marital experience.

300-400 years of wisdom.

300-400 years of making mistakes.

And if you are as smart as I think you are (because if you weren’t you wouldn’t be reading this post), you’ll learn from these experienced veterans because they can provide not only advice, but also a list of all their mistakes. Actually, you will need to get the list of mistakes from their wives.

Anyway, armed with this knowledge, you can avoid making those some mistakes and be free to go out and make your own.

My point is this: Effective husbands seek out mentors.

They look for men they can trust, whose marriages they admire and they learn from them.

In short, don’t try to figure it all out for yourself. Use Habit #11 and Talk to the Old Man.

Check back next time when we cover the 12th and last (for now) Habit. The Habit that is the key to making your marriage work.

The 7+ Habits of Highly Effective Husbands – Habit #10: Think T.I.M.S. before buying her a gift

Although giving your wife a gift is a great way to show your love, especially if it’s in her favourite currency, if you’re not careful it can still blow up in your face.

Like the time when we were dating I gave my wife April a beautiful red lace rose, not knowing that when you took the plastic off, the head of the rose was really a little pair (and I mean little) of skimpy underwear.

That wouldn’t have been so bad, except that I gave it to her at her birthday party… at my parents’ house.

And that summer when she started talking to me again… (her birthday is in December), she suggested that I needed help.

 And that is when I decided to study and learn the science behind effective gift giving.

A science that has been a mystery to husbands (and sales reps) for years… until now!

 What I discovered were thes 4 elements of effective gift giving that I call the T.I.M.S. factor.

The 1st element it Timing:

A gift that is a surprise is more powerful that one she expects.

You still need to give her a gift on special occassions, like Christmas, her Birthday or your Anniversary, but you may find that she will be just as delighted if you bring her flowers after work on Friday.

But, don’t do it every Friday… because then she’ll expect it which will not only make it less powerful, but if you forget one week she will be disappointed. This is certainly not the emotion you want to generate.

 The 2nd element is your Investment:

And by investment, I don’t just mean the money you spend but also the time and effort you take in thinking about, finding and picking out just the right gift for her.

The more time and effort you invest, the more powerful the gift will be.

Trust me, women know which gifts are bought on December 24th.

 The 3rd element is your Motive:

My research shows that there are 4 different types of gifts.

The “Just because I love you (or was thinking about you)” gift, which is the most powerful.

The “Thank you” gift, which is the next most powerful.

The “Negotiation” gift, which is less powerful, because if you receive something in return it is not really a gift.

And the “Please don’t make me sleep on the couch again tonight, honey” or the “suck-up” gift, which is abviously the least powerful.

 The 4th element of the T.I.M.S. model of effective gift giving is the Sensation that she feels when she gets your gift.

If your gift leaves her happy… you’re golden.

If you have to go out and buy her a “Please don’t make me sleep on the couch again tonight, honey” gift to make up for your original one… not so much.

So remember Habit #10 and think T.I.M.S. before buying her a gift.

Next time, in Habit #11 we will explore how to learn from hundreds of years of wisdom in order improve your marriage.