Thursday, December 29, 2016

Relationship Tip Bonus #1 of 2: Request vs. Expect

Have you noticed how hard it can be to read someone else’s mind—or have someone read yours? Have you ever tried to guess what someone wanted—and guessed wrong? The difficulty comes when we are expected automatically to know what someone else wants. The remedy is to make a request for what you want.

When you request, you ask for what you want in a direct and specific manner. When you just expect something, you don't say anything or perhaps drop some hints and hope you get what you expect.

Very few people are able to second guess or read minds when it comes to giving you what you want, be it in material things or relationships. In getting what you want, sometimes the magic happens and you actually get it without asking. To get what really want, most of us have to ask, and be specific or risk getting the wrong size, wrong color or wrong thing altogether. If you have a relationship with someone who always seems to know what you want, be very thankful and appreciative of this person.

If you prefer to be treated in a certain way, request it. If you want to have something specific, request it. If you want a certain level of respect and attention or you want certain things to start, stop or change: request it. Don't rely on others to somehow "just know." There is something of an art to requesting what you really want, and you have to develop a polite and respectful way to ask.

How will you request what you want in such a way to get it? How will others view you when you request and they don't have to guess? Who will you be when you get what you want?

Request vs. Expect. See the video at: https://youtu.be/wjm_T6ykalk

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Relationship Tip 7 of 7: Balance vs. Juggle (Two Bonus Tips Coming Soon)

Most of us have learned to juggle our lives: we juggle schedules, work, relationships, and so forth. We keep adding to our list of things wonderful, fun, dutiful, deadline things to juggle, but somehow we don't take things off of our lists. We have become so accustomed to this mode of operation that it is easy to mistake successful juggling for being balanced. Successful juggling is another way to say "successfully stressed."

When we are juggling, we exert (a lot of) energy to keep things from crashing. If something drops, then other things tend to come crashing down too. "But," you say, "I have all these things I have to juggle!" —What would it be like if we balanced these things instead? Balance takes less energy. It is a more natural place to be where we fall less, and recover more quickly from the unexpected.

Why not see how you can stop juggling and start balancing? Everyone achieves balance differently. The first place to start might be to change your attitude from one of juggling to one of balancing. What do you have to stop doing to move towards balance? What to start doing? 

See the video at: https://youtu.be/gilRwSQoO-4
Coming soon: 
Request vs. Expect
The Two Ways People Learn to Treat You

Monday, December 12, 2016

Relationship Tip 6 of 7: Forgiveness vs. Apology

Have you ever noticed how one-sided an apology can be? I regularly see apologies that do not require us to forgive the offense. For example: “Our store is closed for inventory today, we apologize for any inconvenience.” For this apology, you have taken your time and resources to go shopping at the store, and their apology does not offer anything to encourage you to come back or to cover your various costs of disappointment.

For anything that goes wrong, it is simple to say, "I apologize for whatever I did." This allows me to dutifully apologize for kicking your dog, but have I received forgiveness from you, or your dog?

When little, my son would apologize by saying, "I'm sorry Daddy, will you ever forgive me?" This would always make me stop and think, and smile and forgive. Asking for forgiveness requires an active response in the mind of the offended party. It requires that we touch and respond to what is truly important in the relationship.

Is it better to apologize, or to ask for forgiveness and know you have received it from family, friends and customers? How would it feel different if someone asked you for forgiveness instead of apologizing?


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Relationship Tip 5 of 7: Effective vs. Efficient

When working to get things done, we usually think in terms of being efficient. How do we use our time, money and resources more efficiently? Being effective usually comes after our efforts at efficiency have failed.

Most of us would like to be both effective and efficient, though at times these are mutually exclusive. I remember it this way: Be efficient with things, be effective with people. We can be efficient in tasks such as making things or completing a project. We can not always be efficient with people because it takes time to build effective relationships and to communicate with understanding.

There is the story about a manager who wanted to be efficient, so he scheduled his daily tasks and allowed 15 minutes to terminate an employee. An hour later he is still talking with the employee. In striving for efficiency, he did not take the time to be effective.

Raising children is another effort where effectiveness is more important than efficiency. It takes much time and energy to be effective with our children, and if we don’t make the effort to be effective in teaching them to make better choices, we can expect to lose much efficiency with them as they mature.

On the other hand, we can be efficient with things. Running errands, making a schedule, housecleaning, cooking and other tasks are often planned and carried out on time. Various processes, procedures and work can be done in a efficient way.

Be efficient with things, be effective with people.

Think of times you have tried to be efficient, but were ineffective. How might you have been more effective?

Watch the video at https://youtu.be/p8Rv1DI7-P0

Monday, November 28, 2016

Relationship Tip 4 of 7: Request vs. Complain (NO Whining!)

Let’s start with a distinction between Complain vs. Whine. Nobody likes to hear whining. When you have a problem or something you want, and nothing can be done about it, it's whining. Like getting caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella—you can make a lot of noise about getting wet, but it just irritates everyone around you.

When something can be done about it, it's a complaint. Let’s take this up a notch.
Complaints usually come across as negatives, and if you are a chronic complainer, you can develop a reputation as being a negative person. For examples: The car is dirty; the report has not been filed yet; your attitude is lousy; there’s not enough money; etc.

Yes, we can see that what you say is true, but what do you want ME to do about it? I have enough complaints of my own without having to trouble myself with yours.

Since response to the complaint requires action, why not make a positive request for the action you want at the start? For examples: When can we get the car washed? Will you ask Terry to file the report? Can you give me some positive suggestions about this? What can we do to get enough money and not go to prison?

The complaint only identifies the problem or what you want. The request starts beyond the complaint towards a solution. Note that the request is not a command, yet it creates a positive response for taking action.

Instead of complaining, play with making requests and see how different it feels and what kind of responses you get. And remember: NO Whining!

See the video at https://youtu.be/LC0vPrXk8F4https://youtu.be/LC0vPrXk8F4

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Relationship Tip 3 of 7: Fact of Life vs. Problem

Continuing with our series of seven distinctions to help improve relationships, everyone has problems at times. A problem is a problem only as long as we can do something about it. When we have done all that we know or that can be done, then that problem becomes a fact of life and we have to live with it.

For example, if I am going bald(er), I can see it as a problem and attempt to keep and restore my hair. If I accept it as a fact of life that I have a shining example of a perfectly shaped head, then I put my resources to use elsewhere and get going with the rest of my life.

Other fact of life examples might include a business that is failing, a terminal illness, growing old, a deeply inked tattoo that can not be removed, or an incompatible relationship.

There are times when we might shift back from fact of life into a problem. If we discover another option, if someone creates a new process or something that might solve our problem, then we would want to explore this and see how it could work for us. If it works—great! If it doesn’t work, then it becomes a fact of life again.

The point where we shift from problem to fact of life can require some painful soul-searching. For example, deciding that growing old is a fact of life can lead some people to live life to its fullest, yet others might struggle with it and eventually give up to old age.

In making this shift from problem to fact of life, we might be able to stop beating ourselves up over what wouldda, couldda, shouldda, might have been, and get on with life.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Relationship Tip 2 of 7: Compliment vs. Acknowledgement

Understanding and practicing the difference between Compliment vs. Acknowledgement can make a huge difference in our relationships.

Anyone can give you a compliment after just a few seconds. For example, if you’re playing the piano. I might compliment you by saying something like, “Wow, you play piano really well.” Generally, there is nothing wrong with giving a compliment.

It only takes an extra few seconds to find a deeper truth and, instead of giving a compliment, give an acknowledgement. I might acknowledge the pianist by saying something like, “Wow, you play the piano really well. I can tell you must have put a lot of time and energy into practicing and becoming as fluid as you are on the keyboard.”

Which would you rather receive? To acknowledge someone goes further to communicate you have been paying attention, you have noticed some specifics, and you appreciate the effort. You acknowledge simply by speaking more of the truth that you see.

There are a couple of kinds of acknowledgements you can give. The Conditional Acknowledgement includes an element of measurement or comparison, like, “You’re playing that song so much better today than you did last week.” There are times when an conditional acknowledgement is helpful. Other times, not so much when the acknowledgement can cause hard feelings such as, “You play piano a lot better than Dana, but you still have to catch up to Terry.”

I usually prefer an unconditional acknowledgement that does not include the measurement or comparison elements, simply saying, “Great job on that piano piece you did. I can tell you really put in the time and energy to practice.” I simply state what I perceive without comparing.

Acknowledgements work best when they are truthful, respectful and constructive (TRC). If it’s not truthful, then you won’t trust it. If not respectful, you won’t really hear it. If not constructive, you won’t want to do it. For example, if you mess up your piano piece and someone tells you how great it was, you will not trust the person’s evaluation because you know you messed up (even though you know the person was trying to be supportive).

This brings up another consideration. If you cannot acknowledge the performance or the results of an effort, you can acknowledge the effort: “I know how hard you practiced that song and I could tell how much heart and soul you put into it.”

Acknowledging can be helpful in building and managing relationships. See the difference it can make with your family, friends and colleagues.

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/53-bVXqVI60

Monday, November 7, 2016

Relationship Tip 1 of 7: Standards + Boundaries = Integrity

An important part of not getting sloppy with our relationships is expressed in this little formula:

Standards + Boundaries = Integrity

Standards are what you set for the way you want to live. Boundaries are what you set for yourself and other people to maintain your standard. Whenever someone disregards your standards and oversteps your boundaries and you don’t correct that, or when you fail to maintain your own standards and boundaries—you feel out of integrity with yourself, you feel bad, or not right or unfulfilled about it.

Example:
My standard: I am nice to animals.
My boundary: I don’t kick my dog.
Your boundary: You don’t kick my dog either.

My standard: I am nice to people.
My boundary: I don’t yell at you.
Your boundary: You don’t get to yell at me either.

Setting a Boundary
Let’s say we are in a conversation that starts getting heated. I might say to you, “I’m uncomfortable with the way you’re raising your voice to me, and if you keep on, I’m going to have to step out until things calm down.”

If you keep raising your voice, then I have to take respectful action and I might say something like, “I need to step out, and I’ll be back when I calm down.” Then I need to step out, and not engage you in any further conversation until I come back. If you call me names or say things to get me re-engaged, it’s best if I not respond because this usually continues the argument in a disrespectful way.

There is a direct connection between standards and boundaries. If you are bothered by someone's behavior, look to see if your boundary or standard has been disrespected or overstepped. Since boundaries and standards always connect, if we can identify one, it usually points to the other. For example, if it upsets you to hear someone yelling at another person, it points back you your boundaries and standards around being nice and respecting other people.

Clarifying our standards and boundaries can add a great deal of space and sanity to our lives. It allows us to set bigger, better boundaries and teach people how to treat us better (so they don't have to guess). Please note that this requires respect from all the people involved, and might not work in abusive situations. 

See the Youtube Video, Click Here.https://youtu.be/GLpf0Q_20Ak

Monday, August 1, 2016

How to Defend Yourself and Win a Political Campaign


Campaigning: What I Taught Students…
I taught college level Communication in Society for a while, and one section covered political campaigning and defending yourself politically—which today you should find both amusing and troubling how little has changed since I taught this. Amazing, both major parties run a "how to win a campaign" school, I will include the links later. Here are a few tips on campaigning.

Issues.
First decide what the issues are, but note that it has to be an existing and well-known issue. Campaign time is not the time to bring up a new issue or establish a new need because it wastes your campaign money on educating the public. The campaign should build your image—good person, dedicated, hard-working, etc.—and reinforce the existing issues (such as immigration, defense, healthcare, education, etc.)

Rules for addressing an issue.
  1. There must be an existing need at issue (such as we need money for education)
  2. If need is at issue, avoid the issue (the need must already be established).
  3. Where need is already established, occupy ground (scream about it loud, scream long, scream first).
  4. Don't put forth a plan unless forced to do so, and then only if your plan is foolproof (because any plan will certainly be attacked by the other campaign).
  5. If you put forth a plan and are attacked, you can't back down without looking weak, indecisive or stupid (you must defend your plan no matter what, see rule #4).
Attacking an issue.
Keep pointing to the need for your opponent to address the issue. Force your opposition to put forth a plan, then attack their plan. Question if their plan will work or cause more problems than it fixes.

Four Steps to Defend Yourself Politically
There are four steps to defending yourself politically, if you do all four steps and it doesn't work, keep repeating them in order until it does. Note that political attacks that use personal issues can produce a smear campaign that doesn't look like a smear campaign (after all, we're just telling you the truth). It has been said that President Nixon followed these four steps exactly:
  1. Defense of facts:
    A. I did not do it. ("I did not have sex with that woman")
    B. How could we have done anything if nobody knew it was a problem?
  2. Defense by definition: 
    A. It is not a bribe, it is a gift. (It depends on how you define "is")
    B. It was a national security issue, we couldn't tell the truth without tipping off the enemy.
  3. Defense by justification:
    A. Yes we did it, but national defense was at stake.
    B. Somebody had to do something, so that's what we did.
  4. Defense by procedure:
    A. Right or wrong, we must protect the Presidency
    B. Executive privilege, nobody else has the right to know about it.
We also taught about a system that took a candidate from 12th place up to 2nd place in just a few weeks. It was shocking that for this system to work, it required the candidate to listen and respond to a broad range of constituents.

Here are some links on the campaigning schools and info:

Republican campaign school: https://www.gop.com/get-involved/political-education/ This one appears to be operated by the Republican party directly. 

This one appears to be operated by consultants whose client list is all liberal/progressives.

Campaign planning manual: https://www.ndi.org/files/Afgh-campaign-planning-manual-ENG.pdf Claims to be for any campaign across the globe, you decide.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Wealth: The Future of Your Job


Here's another reason why JOB is an abbreviation for Just Over Broke. Amazing that any job (your job?) that involves repetition—from bookkeeping to data analysis to cooking to truck driving—can now be done by robotics with Artificial Intelligence.

If you search the web for job loss due to automation, and read up on AI, you’ll see that people at the top who own and program the robotics, and those who own and/or lead their successful businesses will probably be ok for now, but what about the rest of us?

What will happen when up to 60% of jobs are lost to robotics, and what of certain industries like automotive manufacturing where job loss to robotics is predicted to be up to 90% within the next 20 years or so?

Did you know that Artificial Intelligence can analyze data better than a human? In the medical field, the computer is 95% accurate in diagnosing cancer, the doctors are only 75% accurate. The computer can also analyze numbers and look for trends and ferret out knowledge that humans would not—think—to look for.

What does this mean to you? It means that you better be looking for some kind of career that Artificial Intelligence cannot completely replace. It also means that we could be set for an awful paradox: robotics can displace so many people’s jobs that the people cannot afford to buy what the robotics produce.

Try this. Go to www.usdebtclock.com and near the right side of the page, find the total US population at around 323 million people. Just to the right of the population number what do we see? The US work force now is about 151.2 million  full-time and part-time workers. This means only 47% of our population has a job to support the rest of the country.

Hmmm. In today’s numbers, if robotics replaced 50% of our jobs, then about 76 million people would have jobs to support the rest of our country. This would be 24% of our population supporting the other 76%, and some of these would be part-timers.

With the level of unemployment, the overburden on helping those out of work and the expansion of poverty, I’d say the conditions would look similar to what Benjamin Franklin saw in 1729 when he wrote A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency. Ben Franklin, and others, pointed out that the lack of money for commerce and trade led to the Revolutionary War. This is why providing jobs, and keeping you and your fellow citizens (including your coach) employed is so important.

So here’s your challenge. Participate with the DICE process: Design, Identify, Connect and Emerge with the next steps towards a solution, check out www.communitiesofthefuture.org 

The W H O You Are Determines Everything in Your Life.

The W H O You Are Determines Everything in Your Life.
The true definition of failure is your inability to reach your goals in life, whatever they may be.

Who you are determines what you do and how you get to do it.
Who you are opens up the options and opportunities you will attract into your life.
Who you are evolves as you clarify and pursue your purpose and possibilities in life.
Therefore: know Who you are.

Your personal limitations and challenges become your business limitations and challenges for
Who you are.
How you set and maintain your standards and boundaries communicates the character of
Who you are.
The alignment of your values with the actions that you engage tell the world of your integrity.
Therefore: develop Who you are.

Who you are has choices to make.
Who you are can choose to default into whoever you happen to be.
Who you are can choose to design the person and life you want.
Who you are is the starting point for Who you want to be- come.
Therefore: lead yourself to become Who you are.

How are you leading yourself to develop Who you are—and Who you are becoming?

Give me a call, let's talk about it.
Mack Arrington, PCC Executive and Life Coach
Telephone: 336.856.1600
thecoach@mackarrington.com

Monday, June 6, 2016

I came across this "life coaching message" in an article about tiny houses.
Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.


But making a living is necessary, and I'd like to live well. Wouldn't you?

How well is too well? Again, the things we own also own us. How much quality time do you spend cleaning your house, making repairs, yard work, caring for your vehicle(s), and all the many other things we tend to do—alone?

One of the best things I did when we moved into our current house was when I invited a few of the guys from church to come over and help me with building my garden space. One of them brought his teenage son, and don't you know that his son saw Dad in a different light in the company of other men working together. It made the work more fun as well as sharing the brain-trust on the best ways to put the railroad ties into place for the back border to my garden.

I have a friend who grew up in a "mill village." The factory where his father worked also owned several hundred houses that it rented to the factory workers. You got to know your neighbors and their kids. He talked about how all the parents parented all the kids, you took care of each other. If someone had a need or got sick, the community pitched in and took care of whatever it was.

Last week, my next door neighbor locked himself out of his house, with his cell phone still in the house. It felt a little awkward that he came over to use my phone when the most we usually do is wave across the driveways and mention the weather. He called his sister to come let him back in. Gee, if I'd only had a key to his house like a really good neighbor should...

Yes, the subject of community—the feeling that you belong in relationship—is close to my heart. It is a feeling that we have lost to a large extent. I am the Community Watch coordinator for my neighborhood, and one of the recommendations the Officers keep telling us is: get to know your neighbors, their kids, their pets, their cars—because we don't. Our isolation in our own neighborhoods is a chronic disease. Our life styles keep us this way. You don't need to run next door to borrow a cup of flour when neither of you cook. We have shifted from the front porch to the back deck. We are thankful for air conditioning that keeps us inside and away from our troublesome neighbors.

I get a daily email from the Inward/Outward folks. Here is one about the need to be intentional about living in community. It got my atention:
Our withholding ourselves is often beyond our knowing. You cannot surrender to God a self you do not know. This was surely also in the design of community, that we might find ourselves in the mirror of that community. It was as we shared the common life that one unredeemed area after another came to light. The joy of involvement was interwoven with the pain of it.Elizabeth O'Connor - Source: Call to Commitment
When we withhold ourselves—from God and others—we miss an opportunity to grow past our faults and limitations. You can say, like that old hymn, I surrender all, but this can be an incomplete inventory. How do you surrender what you don't know you have? It is in the context of sharing the common life that we reflect our brokenness to each other, and are loved and cared for anyway. The joy and the pain are both part of the package.

I'd like to see us creating a "today" version of community. What might that look like?


Thursday, April 28, 2016

It's all connected, and so much is broken...


Whenever I present my list of the broken systems in the USA, I usually get 100% agreement. Maybe you have something to add? And all the systems are connected in one way or another. My broken systems list includes:

Our education system
Our healthcare system
Our mental health system
Our immigration system
Our border security
Our economic system
Our money/currency system
Our business/capitalistic system
Our welfare system
Our gun control system
Our political system
Our social systems
Our infrastructure system (roads, bridges, water, etc.), estimated at this writing to need $3.6 billion to fix. (http://www.budget.senate.gov/democratic/public/index.cfm/repairing-our-infrastructure \ http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/ )

Our toxic/hazardous waste system, estimated at this time to need $300 billion to cleanup. https://www.epa.gov/superfund )

Most people agree that it will take a lot of money to improve or fix our brokenness. The one system that impacts all the others is the money system: we currently use a privately owned central bank, the Federal Reserve, which is not Federal, nor does it have a reserve. The "Fed" along with the private banking system has a monopoly on creating almost all our money. To me, the crime in this is that all the banking system has to do to control us is to wait until we are desperate enough to go deeper into debt, and they continue to profit on our hardship. 

I think President Lincoln had the right idea when he bypassed the banks with the Legal Tender Act of 1862. He needed money to win the Civil War, and the banks wanted to charge him over 25% interest. His advisor, Edmund Dick Taylor made this recommendation.

On 16 January 1862, Taylor met privately with President Abraham Lincoln at his request. Taylor suggested the issuance of treasury notes bearing no interest and printed on the best banking paper. Taylor said "Just get Congress to pass a bill authorizing the printing of full legal tender treasury notes... and pay your soldiers with them and go ahead and win your war with them also. If you make them full legal tender... they will have the full sanction of the government and be just as good as any money; as Congress is given the express right by the Constitution." 
—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Dick_Taylor

This money was called United States Notes, later called Greenbacks, and was created debt-free by the Treasury. It existed until about 1996, which gave the USA a dual currency system: the Federal Reserve system that perpetually keeps us in debt, and the US Notes, which had the potential to get us out of debt if Congress had expanded their use. 

Current status according to the Treasury: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Currency/Pages/legal-tender.aspx

It is also interesting to note that around $400 million US notes were printed, and about $240 million are still outstanding—where could they be? Here is the Treasury report, broken down into each denomination of dollars, the current bulletin issue: https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/fsreports/rpt/treasBulletin/treasBulletin_home.htm

Our needs are so great, and the bankers are watching as we sink lower, maybe it's time to bring back the greenback?